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The State of Nigerian Roads (Posted 28th February, 2003) Tell your friends about this page! Email it to them.

Nigeria is known to be rich in both mineral and human resources, but a major factor that is often ignored is the wide expanse of land and the road networks that link the over 300 ethnic groups together. The country has a total area of 923,768 sq. km and land area of 910,768 sq. km, out of which a total of 194, 394 km are either paved or unpaved roads. 60,068 km paved with bituminous surface and the remaining 134, 326 km unpaved. 

A basic ingredient necessary for the influx of foreign investors to any country is the need to have adequate and functional basic infrastructures in place. Among these are electricity, pipe-borne water, security, shelter, telecommunication and good road network. Since the country returned to democratic governance in 1999, the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration has had some success in ensuring the provision of most of these infrastructures in its drive to woo the much-needed foreign direct investment. 

But an area where the Obasanjo Government is still seriously lagging behind is the provision of good road network especially in the area of maintaining existing roads and creating more accessible roads into the hinterlands. The roads that fall in the former category includes the Shagamu-Ore-Benin Expressway, Iwo-Osogbo Expressway, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Ibadan-Ilorin Expressway, Calabar-Uyo Expressway, Aba Expressway among others.

Many would-be investors to the country have commented on the deplorable state of Nigerian roads both at the inter-state and intra-state levels. On the part of the private sector, they have made countless representations to all levels of government appealing for the repair of some of the major roads. Major instances are certain key roads in the Lagos metropolis. As for the state governments, they have rehabilitated many roads that fall under their domains as both the state and Federal Government share the maintenance of roads in many states especially in Lagos. 

In Lagos for example, the state has made efforts to mend some of the major Federal Government roads but much is still left to be desired, as the state has also mounted public notices indicating the jurisdiction of the roads that are left untouched and uncared for and in the process, turn into craters. It appears that the Federal Government is shying away from the responsibility of maintaining roads that belong to it. This stance is at variance with the governments clamour for foreign investors and the provision of an enabling business environment in the country. 

On another note, the organised private sector has severally been called upon to show some degree of social responsibility by assisting government to effect much-needed repairs on some of these roads. These roads directly or indirectly affect its business activities. It seems like the time for business and government to come together to salvage Nigerian roads is now.

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