The Executive Members of the Nigerian Bar Association (“NBA”) Benin, (the Lion Bar) led by its Chairman, Pius Oiwoh, Esq. paid a distress visit to the Zonal Coordinator, Federal Road Maintenance Agency (“FERMA”) South South 2, Engr. Ben Amarube, concerning the deplorable state of Federal roads in Edo State.
In a report by the Publicity Secretary of the branch, Mr. Ogaga Emoghwanre, Esq, the Executives highlighted the negative impact of the state of the roads on the general public.
In his address, the NBA Chairman told the Zonal Coordinator that the roads have all become death traps and easy for kidnappers, bandits and other criminal elements to wreck havoc on citizens and travelers. He further stated that the distress visit to the Zonal Coordinator became necessary so as to draw his attention to the state of the roads particularly; the Benin/ Sapele Road, Benin/Lokoja Road, Benin/Lagos Road and Benin/Agbor Road.
On his part, the Secretary of the branch, Mr. O. A. Lawani added that palliative measures would go a long way in alleviating the suffering of the masses. He further stated that the Benin Bar is ready to collaborate with the Agency and add its voice to its push for the Federal government’s urgent intervention
In response, the Zonal Coordinator appreciated the visit of the Benin Bar Executives and noted that the agency at the South South level is doing its best to ensure the roads are maintained.
He however outlined the challenges they are facing in this regard as follows:
Vandalization of federal roads by unscrupulous elements around the state. He cited the example of the removal of the median demarcation at Sapele Road in front of Ameosa Motors, in other for vehicles to gain access to the other end of the road easily; Flagrant disregard for road safety rules by individuals.; Blockage of drainages by filling stations and park operators meant to channel water away from the road and Lack of equipment and security personnel. He mentioned that there is no security personnel attached to the agency to prosecute offenders and those damaging Government’s properties.
The Zonal Coordinator also decried the fact that the Agency experiences legal dead-ends in prosecuting offenders, as the roads are within the jurisdiction of the state government, thereby divesting the agency of its powers to prosecute offenders.
He then appealed for synergy with the Bar in giving wide publicity to the continuous abuse and destruction of the affected roads and prosecution of those flouting the rules and regulations of the highways.
The Coordinator also pleaded with the executive, that whatever step the Bar has to take regarding the issues raised, should not be limited to its Benin office, it should ensure the same gets to the agency’s headquarters.
The NBA, Benin Bar Chairman assured the agency of its collaboration with the state government to ensure enforcement of road safety rules to preserve the roads.