The Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) was established by Act No.7 of 2002 which was assented to by President Olusegun Obasanjo. The Agency was established to monitor and maintain all existing Federal roads in the country.
The first Governing Board of FERMA was chaired by Engineer Guy Otobo and was inaugurated by then Minister for Works and Housing, Chief Tony Anenih on 27thJanuary, 2003.
As contained in its establishing Act, the mission of FERMA is to efficiently and effectively monitor and administer road maintenance with the objective of keeping all federal roads in good and safe conditions;
while is vision is to become the most efficient road maintenance management organization that will enhance the economic well-being and interest of Nigerians.
True to the letters of the Act, FERMA became very active from the time it was established and was very visible in terms of mounted signs and its workers seen on highways fixing damaged roads across the country, sometimes late in the night.
But like many government agencies in Nigeria, FERMA has either gone to sleep or lost its sense of mission. While Nigerian roads are very bad now, thereby inflicting hardship on travelers across the country, one can barely see any sign of FERMA or its personnel on the highways.
Due to the terrible nature of Nigerian roads currently, communities, local government areas, states and regions are been being cut off from one another without anything done to check the deterioration.
Apart from the huge negative impact this ugly development is having on the national economy, local farmers can no longer take their farm products to market, leading to additional poverty among inhabitants of rural communities.
It is even more worrisome that Nigerian roads, both federal and state, are deteriorating, despite the colossal sum of money that is budgeted annually for works sub-sector by the Federal Government. This is aside the claims by state governments of huge financial expenditures on road construction and rehabilitation.
Travelling from one part of the Nigeria to another has become one huge nightmare. It is like walking through the valley of the shadow of death, and many citizens are actually dying in the process, due to avoidable accidents.
The argument by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing that it takes huge resources to construct new roads, and that budgetary allocation are usually not in tandem with needed funds, is quite rational and understandable.
But same cannot be said of FERMA with a mandate of patching (maintaining) bad portions of the roads to prevent further degeneration.
It is totally unacceptable for any agency of government to take accommodation in a massive building with well furnished offices and be receiving huge annual budgets without to justifying its continued existence.
We therefore call on the Federal Government to take a second look at the many departments and agencies of the various ministries as well as some independent commissions reporting directly to the presidency with a view of scrapping those that are not adding value to the nation and our people.