By The Informant247
The Ragada-Edo-Kpansnako community road in Patigi Local Government Area of Kwara State is a mostly busy route due to the network of agrarian communities that use it. In this investigation, The Informant247’s Sukari Mohammed tells the story of how this road troubles motorists, has led to fatalities and puts at risk, the lives of users plying it for their daily activities. This is despite the release of funds by the government for its rehabilitation in 2019.
In December 2018, the Nigerian government, through the Lower Niger River Basin Authority, awarded a contract for the rehabilitation of the Ragada-Edo-Kpansnako road to Seven-West Contractor Limited at a contract sum of N114,373,735.25.
In 2019, the government released over N60,000,000 amounting to about 55 percent of the contract sum, to the company for the road which serves as a crucial link for the farming community and adjoining areas in the state.
But despite the released sum, the project has remained undone since 2019. Sadly, it has further deteriorated and continued to pose severe safety issues, causing the loss of lives. Community members told The Informant247 that less than five percent of the work was done.
On November 7, the reporter visited the location and observed that the only work done at the site since 2019 was a culvert and a very short-length drainage control.
Motorists Lament The Deplorable Road
Idris Issa, a motorbike passenger was not too pleased when he met with The Informant247. He recounted how he sustained a leg injury due to a pothole filled with water on the road. He is still seeking relief from the accident.
“That day, I was returning with ladies on my motorcycle. There was a big pothole filled with water on the road; I did not notice on time because it was dark. By the time I did, It was already late. We fell inside, and I broke my leg in the process. They took me to a hospital in Pategi where I am still receiving treatment to date.”
Shuaibu Gada, a motorist expressed frustration on the state of the road. He highlighted the difficulties faced by drivers who transport goods to and from the villages.
“We, the drivers, normally suffer to get in and out of the village with our commercial vehicles; whenever we are called by the traders from this village to carry their goods to Ilorin, we always feel bad due to the road condition.”
Some youths from Edogi-kpansanako who also shared their concerns about the road said the lack of adequate drainage system and culverts led to the reoccurring accidents and loss of lives.
“There was a day we lost three lives on this road in a single day,” one of them, Mohammed Issa, said.
Death Toll On The Abandoned Road Project
Until her death, Fatima Bida was a vibrant young girl with great ambition. But she lost her life in an accident on the road. Her mother, Fatima Muhammad told The Informant247 that her late daughter was not the only victim.
Gana Mohammed Fatima was the grandmother of Yunusa Muhammad Chatta, but the young man was said to have died with Bida during an accident on the abandoned road project.
Both children lost their lives when their motorcycle collided with another while returning from a marriage ceremony in Ragada Village in 2020. They were both from the Sheshi village.
“My son had an accident on the road and died when returning from a marriage ceremony at neighboring Ragada Village. Three of them were involved in the accident and none survived,” Fatimah said while sharing their heartbreaking stories.
Mallam Muhammad Gana, the village head of Sheshi, expressed his disappointment in the project’s execution. He said although efforts were made to spray mud, sand, and gravel on the road, it worsened its condition.
He asked the federal government to compel the contractor to return to the site as the road becomes impassable, especially during rainy seasons, affecting the villagers’ access to the Pategi market.
Residents Call For Project Completion
Besides Gana, Alhaji Sha’aba Muhammad, the deputy village head of Edogi-kpansanako, made a similar appeal due to the grave impact of the project neglect. He said the federal government should mobilize the contractor to complete the project.
He commended the local youths for their efforts in repairing the road when necessary.
Yusuf Usman Sheshi, a farmer was more concerned about the flood water from the neglected project. He highlighted, as he worked on his rice farm, the adverse impact of water flow on the farm. He emphasized the need for proper drainage to control the water flow.
For Issa Hadiza, relying on commercial motorcyclists known as Okada has been a major source of concern. She expressed her frustration about the lack of transportation options to return home from the Patigi market, each time she visits.
No doubt good infrastructure is vital for improved farm productivity and rural economy. Experts have argued that such is capable of reducing post-harvest losses but the reality is the case in the affected area.
Former head of the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Aliyu Abdulhameed said Nigeria loses the value of agro produce worth $8.9 billion annually due to poor transportation system.
As every concerned individual, Hadiza also appealed to the federal government to intervene and rehabilitate the road.
Authority claims project 66 percent done; Investigation shows it is false
When contacted, the Lower Niger River Basin Authority claimed 66 percent of the project had been done. This, however, is contrary to what The Informant247 observed at the project site.
However, the community members insisted less than five percent of the project was done.
A Civil Society Organization that tracks government spending in Kwara State, Elites Network for Sustainable Development (Enetsud) had earlier inspected the project and also gave the percentage of work done as less than five percent.
Hon. Aliyu Bahago Ahmad Patigi, a former federal lawmaker facilitated the project. He represented the Edu/Moro/Patigi Federal constituency of the state between 2007-2019. When contacted, he cited funding as the primary challenge in completing the project.
The Contractor Nowhere To Be Found, Official Contact Denies A Link With the Road Project
Meanwhile, all efforts to reach the company in charge of the project proved abortive.
A search on open platforms such as NG-Checks, a verified medium to check incorporated companies in Nigeria revealed that the Seven West Contractors Limited was incorporated in Abuja on June 12, 2007. It has registration number 694777 and its current status is inactive.
It has four directors namely: Oziegbe Ighadalo, Nwakalor Chinedu, Igbinosa Nora Notienwen, Akinmade Olufemi, and Kachollom Larai Enyenihi as the Secretary.
The company’s registered office address is located at 81, Lome Crescent, Zone 7, Abuja.
All efforts to reach the company for comment on the road project proved abortive as no phone number was attached to its address.
Also, the firm could not be located during a visit to the registered address.
However, the company’s number found in the document attached to the FOI response from the Lower River Niger Basin Development Authority was contacted via a phone call but the owner of the contact denied having any link with the company.
“I do not know anything about the company,” he said.
This Investigation was published with the support of Civic Media Lab.