Drivers and commuters along Gombe-Bauchi Road in North Eastern Nigeria, are crying out to the government to come to their rescue by speedily repairing the 34th kilometre of the road, because the rains are once again cutting off passengers from accessing the road.
They say the road, which is a major highway linking the north eastern states of Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Borno and Taraba, is almost completely cut off.
At the damaged site, which is located 34 kilometres away from Gombe town towards Bauchi; motorists who stopped to speak with Voice of Nigeria said the road had been a death-trap for the past four years, especially during the rainy season.
Now the rains are back and they are calling on the Federal and government in the north east to find a permanent solution to the road, which is considered a major contributor to the economic development of the area.
Motorists and commuters are saying the government should not wait till they are cut-off or made to take risky ventures or long distance to reach their destinations in the zone.
Kilometre 34 lies between Bauchi and Gombe and travellers to other parts of the north east use it regularly.
People have lost their lives as a result of the rains and erosion, which have swept the grounds and structures that hold the road together.
In a time, such as this, people are made to wait for hours on end whenever the rains fall or go through longer routes to their destinations.
At times, drivers from either side of the road end up exchanging passengers across the road, which becomes inaccessible when the rains are at their peak.
Usually, passengers will come down from their vehicles and trek to the other side with their loads or have them being carried by unknown people at a cost or lose them in the process.
If that is not possible, they take longer routes, which add extra hours to their time on the road.
Although this may seem safer, it automatically means paying more money.
Heavy rains that fell on Wednesday last week, March 15, have further added more damage to the road.
Mallam Mahmud Yunusa is a business man who frequently uses the road.
“Even on my way coming, I had that thing in mind, that if it rains today, I am going to be in a real problem. I have travelled along this road, I have travelled to Yola, Taraba…. This road, like I said earlier, is our most important roads in the North East, because of the places it links together.
And it has been left uncared for and we have recorded so many accidents due to the condition of this road. The condition as you can see is very poor, it’s very bad. All we are asking is for the Federal Government to please have mercy on us, you know have a look at this place and try to do something about it, because people are really suffering,” said Mahmud Yunusa, a business man who frequently uses the Bauchi-Gombe Road.
Although the Gombe-Bauchi road is a Federal Government road, the Permanent Secretary at the Gombe State Ministry of Works, Mohammed Bappa, said the state government had been rendering palliative measures on the road, to protect the interest of the people of the area.
“It is Federal Road. This is not the first time, it has failed completely sometimes back and we went there and took some palliative work to restore the road. And we since then contacted the FERMA. We also contacted the Federal Ministry of Works. They are aware of the development but then we have no option if they are not forthcoming, we’ll still have to go and at least do some palliative work to ensure that the road is totally cut-off,” Mohammed Bappa said.
When contacted in their Gombe State office, the officer in charge of the Federal Emergency Road Maintenance Agency, Mr. Suleiman Mohammed, gave the assurance that the agency was aware of the condition of the road and its repairs was being worked out.
“What I’ve said on Gombe-Bauchi Road, everything is on top of gear. We are working hand-in-hand. Just now, one of indigenes from the headquarters sent me a message, because they are having Monday meeting, every two-two weeks, we are having meeting.
On Saturday I was there doing palliative measure work. I have sent the pictures to her, I have sent to my Executive Director, I have sent to my Zonal Director in Bauchi, I have sent to my East Operation in the headquarters and thank God, everything is on top of control from headquarters. This morning we were there at 34/200, so everything is within our control and we have sent mails. But do you know right here in the office here, we monitor; we give report; we don’t have the power to award contract from here,” said Mr. Suleiman Mohammed.
So while the paper works are being carried out and contracts being awarded, commuters and drivers on the Bauchi-Gombe Road are calling on governments at all levels to act fast to avoid further loss of lives on what is now being referred to as a death-trap.