Niger declares state of emergency on roads

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One of the collapsed bridges in Niger State.

By Rita Iliya

The Niger government has declared a state of emergency on federal roads following the collapse of two bridges in Tatabu and Bokani villages in Mokwa Local government areas.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bridges are in Bokani village in Makera Tegina road and Tatabu village.

The bridges which link the north with the west collapsed between June 4 and June 11 after heavy rainfall.

A failed portion of one of the federal roads in Mokwa area of Niger state.

NAN also report that a rail line that links Western and Northern parts of the country also collapsed as a result of flood from heavy rainfall.

Mr Jonathan Vatsa, the state Commissioner for Information, told newsmen shortly after inspecting the bridges and the rail line that the federal roads in the state have become dead traps.

“There is no guarantee of life on these roads and therefore, on behalf of the acting Gov. Alhaji Ahmed Ketso, Niger state as a government thereby declared a state of emergency on federal roads in the state.

“Road users should henceforth be very careful and take precautionary measures while traveling on the roads as anything can happen. The federal roads in the state are not longer safe.

“I advise drivers of trucks and articulated vehicles to be conscious especially when approaching a bridge,” he said.

He appealed to Federal government to intervene in rehabilitating the roads, adding that the Northern and Western parts have been cut off as a result of the collapsed bridges and rail line.

“The two bridges must be fixed at the same time because they are links to each other in one way or the other.

“Vehicles conveying goods to other parts of the country will now have to use Tegina-Minna-Suleja-Abuja and Lokoja route which is more longer,” he added.

Malam Suleiman Mohammed, a resident of Bokani community, told NAN that the collapsed of the bridge has left motorist and passengers stranded as there was no alternative route to their communities.

Mr Umaru Mohammed, Youth Leader in Bokani Village, told NAN that all the youths in Bokani and the neighboring communities had come up with new initiative of pushing cars and crossing of passengers through the water.

Another collapsed bridge in Mokwa area.

He said that the pushing of buses through water attracts a fee of N500 per bus while small cars goes for N300.

“We only push small cars, articulated vehicles are not allowed. This initiative has created a means of livelihood for youths in the areas,” he said.

Mohammed disclosed that the collapsed of the bridge in Bokani had led to the increased in transport fair.

“Before transport fair from Bokani to Makera was N300 but now goes for N500 while Mokwa was N150 now goes for N300. We appeal to government to help because we are suffering and travelers are stranded,” he added. (NAN)


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