by Paul I. Adujie Esq.
Nigeria is under water! Nigeria is literally underwater! 22 out of 36 federating states of Nigeria are rapidly being submerged.
I recently wrote two articles in which I discussed the parlous condition of roads, highways and byways in Nigeria. In the first article, titled, “Nigeria, What Is The Role And Purpose Of Government?” http://www.modernghana.com/news/419209/1/nigeria-what-is-the-purpose-and-role-of-government.html and the second article was titled, “Port Harcourt Bridge Collapse; Emblematic Of Public Infrastructures In Nigeria” http://www.modernghana.com/news/419647/1/port-harcourt-bridge-collapse-emblematic-of-public.html
The theme of above referenced articles centered on the planning, execution or implementation of Nigeria public infrastructures, with particular emphasis on the centrality of roads, highways and bridges as focus. Since then, what looked at the time as isolated incidents in Lokoja, Okene and some parts of Bayelsa State, have quickly become a national emergency.
Nigeria is rife with speculations now, to the effect that the nation and government of Cameroon has decided to teach Nigeria and Nigerians a bit of lesson in war waged with water.
And so it goes that Nigeria’s neighbor with which we share a common border in the easternmost part, Cameroon, a nation with which Nigeria also share common history and culture war with water. This speculation regarding an orchestrated and choreographed war with water by Cameroon remains to be confirmed or proven.
But what is beyond dispute, and it is the open secret, which is the poor state of roads, highways and bridges in Nigeria.
What is observable and discernible to the ordinary eye, so far is, merely the flooding from seasonal happenstances without any domestic or Cameroonian or some other foreign conspiracies to be found in current floods ravaging Nigeria nationwide! It is mere human ineptness and wanton neglect wrapped in poor planning, marinated and sautéed in extreme lack of vision!
The onset of the current floods deluges across the majority of Nigeria’s federating 36 states. Rains and floods are foreseeable and even predictable. Purposeful government, and planners with a modicum of foresight would take measures to forestall damage and destruction.
The Role and Purpose of Government in Nigeria of which I wondered loudly about recently, is now being put to the highest scrutiny as these floods ravages are spreading nationwide. And it is glaringly clear to all observers now, that many Nigerian roads are too poorly constructed.
The flimsiest of floods have rendered roads vehicular-impassable. These present conditions which were precipitated by recent flood events, were clearly foreseeable, preventable and avoidable.
Any reasonable or even cursory examination, would have reveal erosions and floods paths, which would of course should have required planners and contractors to deploy measures and resources to tackle what is now rapidly becoming a national disaster or catastrophe.
In “Port Harcourt Bridge Collapse; Emblematic Of Public Infrastructures In Nigeria” I articulated the following “In South-South and South-East, the roadways are at their worst during the raining seasons and rain is a fact of life in these parts, it is incessant, an honest construction efforts therefore require a delicate balancing act in materials and timing of work.”
“These roads should be elevated above water levels and there must be adequate and sufficient grading, compacting and compressing of earth, cement, lots of cement and then gravels and asphalt!”
“But sadly, the current mode (of roads and highways constructions) require earth movers mowing the topsoil and pouring asphalt and when the rains come, these feeble-flimsies are all washed away and this creates more opportunity for more contracts… a revolving door and road-tripping rolled-into-one!”
The above statements are now more prescient, poignant and profound, in light of enormity and magnitude of harm, damage and displacements and dislocations which have been inflicted upon millions of Nigerians, as a direct result preventable flooding!
The federal road between Warri through Patani which leads onwards to Bayelsa State is now closed and cordoned off by floods. It is the same for the so-called East-West Road which leads connects Bayelsa to Rivers States. The world already knows about the flood havocs in Okene, Lokoja, a major road artery to Abuja our nation’s capital!
Millions of Nigerians are now grappling with the consequences of poor public planning regarding our infrastructures by way of roads and bridges which are now off limits to all Nigerians. Floods are foreseeable and preventable… floods are liable to occur, depending on the geographical location, or terrain and topography. These are observable and discoverable natural phenomenon.
What the strata of governments in Nigeria do, were Nigeria in locations such as Mississippi in the USA, or Amsterdam, in Holland or Florence and Sicily in Italy?
There is an unfolding national disaster, and catastrophe which could severely test the, patience, the will and tolerance and endurance of Nigerians with food prices already rising so high nationwide. This nationwide disaster could be so cataclysmic and it could quickly convince Nigerians that our government at all levels are not fulfilling their purposes and roles as required and expected in a democracy.
Enterprising unemployed in Delta State and elsewhere in Nigeria, where flooding has become a fact of daily life, have now resorted to helping to push stranded vehicles out of waterlogged ditches, potholes and gullies on what used to be Nigeria’s poor excuse for highways before the floods.
Federal highways are now controlled by the neglected unemployed youth, for a fee. And so, sundry Area Boys and others, have joined in to fill the vacuum, in the profound absence by traffic wardens, police personnel, Federal Roads Safety Corps and sundry uniformed military and paramilitary, who ought to control traffic and or manage the crisis which is rapidly enveloping Nigeria through floods!
The movements of goods and services, and everything connected with interstate commerce have come to a complete halt. Life in Nigeria has come to a grinding stop.
Price of foodstuff have risen sharply, and in some accounts, prices of goods and services have quadrupled due to increased travel or transportation costs arising from road closures.
And all of these begs the question, What Is The Role And Purpose of Government In Nigeria?