The House of Representatives has mandated the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, under Babatunde Fashola, to “immediately mop up the necessary resources” and commence emergency repairs on “all the worst affected roads and bridges across the nation.”
The House also asked the ministry to present to the House Committee on Works, an action plan that may require any legislative framework – “if necessary” – for the immediate intervention programme.
The mandates were issued following the unanimous adoption of a motion of urgent public importance moved by Mr Ibrahim Isiaka at the plenary on Tuesday. It was titled, ‘Urgent Need for Emergency Repairs of Badly Failed Sections of Roads and Bridges Affected by Rainfalls Across the Country.’
Isiaka noted the recent torrential rainfall experienced across the country in the last three months, which he said had caused severe damages to roads and bridges in different parts of the country, “leaving behind tales of woes, despondency, social and economic challenges.”
While also noting that no region in the country was spared from “this national Act of God,” bridges and culverts have been submerged, roads have collapsed and access to many towns and cities across the nation have been completely cut off due to the impassibility of the affected roads and bridges.
Isiaka said, “The House is concerned that based on the condition assessments carried out across the country, an estimated cumulative length of the damaged roads is well above 6,000 kilometres.
“The House is worried that this existential threat is posing a danger to human safety and causing significant disruption to both economic and social activities. Motorists and commuters are enduring untold hardship and the security of lives and properties of Nigerians have been greatly threatened consistently.”
Also, the House mandated the Committee on Customs and Excise to carry out a “comprehensive investigation” of the causes of the persistent congestion at the country’s ports, find short-term, medium-term and long-term solutions and report back within three weeks for further legislative action.
Ahmed noted that out of the six ports in Nigeria, the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports jointly handle about 80 per cent of the country’s total imports, adding that the other ports have been operating far below capacity as they jointly handle only 20 per cent of the total cargo volume.
He said, “The House is concerned that the two Lagos ports have been bedevilled by excruciating congestion, which are adversely impacting on the ease of doing business, thus leading to loss of revenues to the country.
“The House is also concerned that obsolete clearing methods, abandonment of containers by importers, lack of automation of clearing, high terminal charges, exorbitant demurrage charges, absence of call-up system, cumbersome and multiple clearing procedures, corrupt and other sharp practices have not helped the present congestions which have so far defied all solutions.
“The House is worried that Apapa Port, Tin Can Island Port, Onne Port and other ports are presently harbouring nothing less than 8,000 containers, which have remained uncleared, including those at Customs warehouses which are not auctioned.”
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