The Senate on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to undertake immediate rehabilitation and construction of major dual-carriage highways across the country.
The call followed a resolution of the upper chamber on a motion by Senator Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi West), which was co-sponsored by 90 other senators.
The Senate also charged the Federal Ministry of Works to urgently explore ways to fund the projects.
It directed its Ad-hoc Committee on Works to embark on audit of all road projects across the country with a view to producing raw data for necessary legislative action.
The senators agreed that there was the need to find a lasting solution to road problems in the country in view of the attendant negative impact on trade and commerce.
They lamented that in spite of several trillions of Naira spent on road construction and rehabilitation since return of democracy in the country, there was minimal or no impact.
Supporting the motion, Senator Sam Egwu (PDP-Ebonyi North) said there was no better time to reconstruct all federal roads in the country than now that Nigeria was working towards diversification of the economy.
Egwu said federal roads in the South East had been in bad shape since the civil war in spite of the contribution of the region to the growth of the economy.
According to him, the roads in the South East, particularly in Ebonyi State, are death traps.
“Ebonyi State is one of the hubs of agriculture, but the roads are in bad shape and that has made movement of goods and services to other parts of the country very difficult,” he said.
On her part, Deputy Minority Whip, Senator Biodun Olujimi, said with paucity of funds in the country, relevant stakeholders ought to find means of raising funds to rehabilitate existing roads.
Olujimi said: “We need to ask the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Works to liaise with the Ministry of Works to find lasting solution to funding of road projects.”
Also, Senator Abdullahi Adamu (APC-Nassarawa West) said the lifespan of vehicles had reduced drastically due to poor condition of roads in the country.
Adamu decried the increasing traffic congestion on Mararaba-Nyanaya-Keffi Road that links about 15 states.
He called on the Federal Ministry of Works to create additional lanes on the road to ease traffic and reduce pressure on the road.
He said: “I want to let the Senate know that the road that leads from AYA in Asokoro, Abuja to Masaka in Nassarawa State ordinarily takes few minutes.
“With the congestion, however, it takes about three hours or more for commuters to get to their destinations depending on the time of the day.
“There is need for something urgent to be done in this regard because of the negative effect on the economy.”
Senator Abdulraham Abubakar (APC-Kogi East) called for re-introduction of toll gates on major highways in order to raise funds for road maintenance.
Abubakar said: “Re-introduction of toll gates on the roads is important.
“This is because the budget given to FERMA and Ministry of Works is not adequate.
“The revenue from the toll gates will go a long way in maintaining federal roads.”
He also called on the Federal Government to pay adequate attention to the re-construction and maintenance of railways to reduce pressure on roads.
In his remark, the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, said the poor state of roads in the country had contributed negatively to the development of the economy.
Saraki said it was shameful that roads in smaller countries in Africa were in better shapes than those in Nigeria.
According to him, there is a need for concerted effort to ensure that factors responsible for poor condition of roads in the country are tackled.
He said: “For Nigeria to develop, we must begin to look at why we find ourselves in this situation.
“We must also look at the contribution of private sector as well as the quality of contractors who handle road construction and rehabilitation.”