Neglect Of Federal Roads In Okunland, Kogi State, Aggravates Poverty Level



Federal roads in Kogi the most neglected - Info Commissioner - Vanguard News

Ayomide  Samson

The neglect of the Federal High Ways that transverse the whole of Kogi West  Senatorial district by the Federal Government has paralysed the economic and social activities of the entire area known and called Okun Land.

The Federal Government for no just cause has decided to turn deaf ear to the calls by the people of the area to fix the roads over the years.

The Ilorin-Kabba road which was last rehabilitated during the reign of General Sani Abacha has completely collapsed because of heavy rains thereby subjecting the people of the area to untold economic hardship.

Because of the bad road, kidnappers, armed robbers, and even herdsmen have find it convenient to take advantage of the failed road to carry out their nefarious activities whereby many of the citizens of the area have either been killed or maimed.  Farming activities which is the main occupation of the people have completely gone comatose because the safety of the farmers could no longer be guaranteed due to the activities of herdsmen.

The farmers can no longer move their farm products outside their areas, just as traders outside the state that normally patronize various markets in the area when the road was good no longer come. They cannot access markets across Okunland. Whatever the people produce cannot be sold or purchased outside their domain. This has aggravated the level of poverty in the area.

The Federal Government had promised to create employment and alleviate people from poverty, yet one of the things that the government could have used to do that with ease is being ignored, said, the Olu  koko of Gbedeland, chief Samson Bello

“Look at the number of restaurants that have closed down over time between Egbe and Ayetoro Gbede, because the drivers and passengers that use to patronize them no longer pass through this road. A good number of women that engaged in one economic activity or the other to support their families are now jobless. Can you imagine the number of farmers that would probably have been making money through this road, if the road was busy and people driving through it stop to buy the farmers produce that are laid by the sides of the road,”  he said.

Currently, if there are incidents of kidnapping or robbery the police along that stretch of the road between Egbe and Ayetoro Gbede are helpless because they cannot be easily mobilized to pursue the criminals as a result of the bad road.

People traveling to Lokoja or Abuja from Ilorin in Kwara now have to pass through Ekiti State thereby making the journey that should have taken about three hours new becomes 8 to 10  or more hours to make with the attendant insecurity. The road is the only federal presence in the entire length and breadth of Okun land and yet it is in a terrible state of disrepair.

Because of the Federal Government’s lack of response to the cries of the peoples over time, concerned citizens of the area has now taken upon himself to start Palliative works on certain portions of the abandoned road.

Sunday Karimi, an indigene of the area has taken the responsibility of doing some palliatives on some failed sections along the Aiyetoro-Gbede-Egbe the abandoned Kabba-Egbe-Ilorin road, which has remained impassible due to the heavy rainfall in the past few months.

The move would assuage the sufferings of the people of Yagba Federal Constituencies in Kogi State, located in the affected area.

Speaking during the flag-off of the rehabilitation works, Karimi who served two terms in the House of Representatives (Yagba Federal Constituency) from 2011 to 2019 said his intervention is to alleviate the suffering occasioned by the collapsed road amid clamour for the Federal Government to pay attention to the Kabba-Ilorin Federal Road, which unfortunately has not received any attention.

His words: “I have watched the sufferings of my people each time I travel on that road, which I do often. I have also been told of stories of robberies, killings, kidnappings, and raping of women on that axis of the Kabba-Ilorin Federal Road.

The Iluhagba-Egbe section is just too bad. Too terrible and my people have suffered this terrible situation for too long. We have made several interventions on this road, including our Executive Governor,  Yahaya Bello, but this has not yielded any positive fruit. I have decided therefore to undertake this rehabilitation, which is palliative, so as to ameliorate this suffering.

“Our people, who are mainly farmers can no longer move their farm products outside these areas. They cannot access markets across Okun land. Whatever they produce, which is their mainstay, cannot be sold or purchased again. This is too bad and deserves attention. That is why I have taken it upon myself to intervene in my own little way. I am not a government but this rehabilitation will enable them to move around with their products. We will still continue to mount pressure on the Federal Government to pay the necessary attention to the road.”

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