Last week, I had to travel home to Biu in Bornu State. It was an emergency trip which became necessary due to the sudden death of one of my brothers, Mallam Aminu. Aminu had died within few hours after he was admitted at the Biu General Hospital due to chest infection, on Friday at about 2am after which we were notified. And so I immediately headed after contacting some few friends for one reason or the other.
The trip was really a nightmare because of the poor state of the Biu –Gombe road. The journey itself lasted for about 12 hours instead of only 6 to 7hours because the portion of the road between Dakinkowa – kwaya kasar – Biu is simply immotorable. It could be said that in the last 10 -15 years travelling along this portion of road had indeed a very wahala to all motorists and other road users who usually on average nearly always double travel time within and between towns, because of the poor state of the road.
This road should be reconstructed to save the people from more deaths and nightmares as people in Biu emirate are not only law abiding citizens but dynamic and enterprising people who are always ready to do their best in bringing about peace, unity and the development not only of their areas in Borno state but Nigeria as a whole.This situation as my former managing Director Mohammed Haruna said last week, became avenues for extortion of travelers, their harassment and even death as a result of the numerous pot-holes and cracked portions of the road from one end to the other. The road has become so bad that the loss of lives of travelers has reached a frightening proportion.
On several occasions motorists are usually diverted to bush paths on several portions of the roads because it has become dilapidated and completely broken. Apart from the pot-holes, the road is broken and littered with deep gorges, cracked surfaces now overgrown with weeds.Information available has indicated that since it was constructed in 1983 no serious major rehabilitation work was ever carried out apart from the one done by the scrapped PTT many years ago. Vehicle owners especially taxi drivers and their owners suffer a lot due to constant engine failure or breakage of their vehicles that ply this road. This is indeed the plight who live in this area on almost daily basis due to government inaction or wickedness to people from Biu emirate despite the fact that they always fulfils their civic responsibilities of paying taxes and other requirements of honest citizens.
The patch patch jobs being done never last for more than one month or so. At the end of the repair travelers are usually left to their fate when plying the road in all seasons.Another issue of concern to travelers along the road is the issue of check points. The recent directive or orders by President Muhammadu Buhari to dismantle them could have helped in reducing the siege mentality the check points may have inflicted on people and will also help to reduce the cost of business transactions in the affected areas.
Though the check points are many along the road their presence will serve to check the excess of the insurgents who are still operating in some parts of the area leading to the loss of lives and destruction of many houses in the southern part of Borno State. The tales of woes at some check points are really pathetic.All these issues take me back to the first issue of government’s criminal negligence during the PDP days when for 15 or 20 years the PDP government refused to either repair the road substantially or to even reconstruct it the way Gombe State government did its own portion of the road.
The portion of the road in Borno State has remained in a bad shape that makes it difficult if not impossible for people like me to travel home as often as is required by our parents or friends. But the people in Borno emirate are happy with the coming of the Buhari government because they believe action will be taken on the issue of the road. Even though some people believe that even if repair work is given out those to handle the project might be chased away by the insurgents. It is still better to give out the contract for the jobthan to abandon the people of Biu to their state despite being 100percent APC loyalist.
The people of Biu believe that President Buhari is working as could be seen in the relocation of command and control center of war against Boko Haram which affects us much.
Biu sent in this write up from Abuja