July 13, 2024

Kogi flood: Abuja fuel scarcity to persist, as petrol tanker operators raise alarm over impassable Lapai-Agai-Bida, Calabar-Oghara-PH eastern roads

Oredola Adeola
The Association of Distributors and Transporters of Petroleum Products (ADITOP) has revealed that the alternative routes suggested by the  Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and Federal Controller of Works to the flooded Koton Karfe Kogi/Abuja highway, are impassable, not economical and secured, insisting that a round trip for distribution of the products to any part of the North  now takes 20 days amidst threat by kidnappers and damaged road.
President of ADITOP, Alhaji Lawan Dan-Zaki, made this known on Saturday in a conversation with News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in response to the suggestions by the Federal Government that motorists travelling to the North from the Southern and Eastern parts of the country to opt for alternative routes by avoiding the Lokoja-Abuja dual carriageway.
According to ADITOP the fuel queues in Abuja would persist because of the longer days and hours that it takes to deliver fuel to filling stations.
He added that the Lambata-Lapai-Agaie-Bida Road in Niger to FCT is damaged and  ridden with potholes  suggesting that there is need for urgent reconstruction.
He also said that carrying products from Calabar-Oghara-Port Harcourt-Warri eastern road takes more than a week because of the bad road.
ADITOP stated that the situation was frustrating and urged the Ministry of Works and Housing and the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to fix a glaring solution.
He noted that the truckers would continue to ply the failed roads, as alternative routes but noted that the product delay would persist until urgent attention is given to the road network.
He said, “A lot of our trucks are loaded with petroleum products but cannot go through the flood area freely, while the empty ones cannot return to load products.“We have two big rivers in Nigeria – River Niger which links Northwest and Southwest Nigeria and River Benue, which affects Lokoja and Eastern parts of the country.

“The bad roads are a challenge to the Federal Ministry of Works, so we appeal to the Federal Government to hasten work on alternative roads.

“This is imperative because our truck drivers spend 10 days while going through the damaged Lapai-Agai-Bida Road and another 10 days while returning to depots,’’ he said.

“Lapai-Agai-Bida Road linking the southern part of the country to take products from Lagos is completely damaged.

“Lokoja Road which we have been managing to transport products from the eastern parts is submerged by flood.
“It is also difficult to take the eastern road carrying products from Calabar-Oghara-Port Harcourt-Warri because the road is bad and truck drivers spend more than a week in trucks queues,’’ he said.Dan-Zaki noted that truck drivers usually avoided Mokwa Road through Kaduna because of insecurity, adding that drivers were being kidnapped on that route.

He said, “We are appealing to the Federal Government to ensure that the ministry and FERMA do the needful to avoid recurrence of fuel scarcity.
The ADITOP president said the NNPC Ltd. had discharged its function by importing sufficient petroleum, but damaged and poor road network and flooding had made it difficult for trucks to distribute the products.Mr. Moshood Samotu, Controller, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in Niger, said work was on-going on the Lambata-Lapai-Agaie-Bida Road.

He said the contractor had been ordered to begin palliative work on soft sections.

He explained that torrential rains had been hindering the movement of articulated vehicles through the soft sections, thereby causing gridlock between Agaie and Badegi towns.

He said 51 per cent of reconstruction work on the Lambata-Lapai-Agaie-Bida Road had been achieved as at September.

He added that the restriction of articulated vehicles from using Bida–Minna Road by the Niger government diverted all Lagos and Abuja- bound articulated vehicles to the Lambata-Lapai-Bida Road.

Samotu told NAN that the high traffic volume hampered smooth operations at the construction site, causing slow progress of work.

“The Lokoja-Abuja Road is under gridlock, a development that diverted vehicles to Lambata-Lapai Road.

“The Lambata-Lapai section has been completed to an appreciable level, but the Bida-Agaie-Lapai section of the road is still under reconstruction,” Samotu said.


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