By SBM Intelligence
Federal roads across Nigeria were reported to have gotten worse in the last five years, according to Nigeria’s leading geopolitical and socio-economic research firm (SBM Intelligence) recent survey on the state of Nigerian roads.
In a press release sent to Discussing Africa the research firm argued that, “despite the fact that billions of naira are budgeted yearly at all levels of governments for the building of new roads and maintenance of existing ones, Nigeria continues to grapple with the need for more, and better roads.”
Nigerian roads are overworked and under-maintained. The country has some of the most underutilised waterways as well as underdeveloped rail system in the world, placing the burden for moving people and goods around on the roads.
With 108,000km of surfaced roads, of which 32,000km was built and managed by the Federal Government, Nigeria has the largest road network in West Africa. Over the years, the poor state of road transportation has led to loss of billions of naira in economic value and thousands of avoidable deaths due to accidents.
In undertaking this study, done in the month of September 2017, SBM Intelligence surveyed forty-five drivers in Abuja and Lagos, all from forty-five different transport companies. Each of the survey respondents said they travel an average of three routes, and have spent an average of 22 years as commercial drivers.
71 percent of the drivers believe that Nigerian roads have gotten worse in the last five years. The following roads were constantly mentioned as being among the worst roads in the country: Kabba-Kafanchan, Benin bypass, Mokwa-Jebba, Lokoja-Ajaokuta, Aba-Obigbo, Onitsha-Enugu, and Idoma-Benue.
SBM Intelligence also spoke with road travellers in Abuja, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi, Lagos and Ondo states. While 19 percent of those who responded felt that the roads had gotten better in the last five years, 58 percent felt that the roads have deteriorated. The rest felt that nothing had changed.
Also, according to SBM findings, travel costs rose significantly in the last five years. When compared, the prices each driver charged for the 102 routes surveyed and how they relate to fares from five years ago have gone up between 41 percent and 60 percent. Many of the drivers said the deteriorating state of the federal roads impacted on their vehicle maintenance costs, and transporters in response have had no choice but to pass this added cost to the commuters.
According to Ikemesit Effiong, lead analyst at SBM Intelligence, one of the factors responsible for the different areas of Nigeria developing culturally in silos is the state of roads. Effiong said that this impacts on the cross fertilisation of ideas essential for cultural integration and nation identity formation.
“Coupled with its impact on cost of doing business and needless loss of human lives, any serious Nigerian government will focus squarely on fixing our roads,” Effiong said.
The firm in its report recommended that before the government embarks on fixing the current roads, they should first carry out a systems needs analysis to determine how the current facts on ground should alter road repair plans “before embarking on an aggressive implementation of any new plan that is developed.”
PHOTO: Ntezi Ebia road in Ebonyi State (Credit – Maurice Archibong)