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SBM unveils Nigeria’s worst roads

. Says travel costs rose significantly in the last 5 years

SBM Intelligence, a geopolitical and socio-economic research firm, on Tuesday, unveiled the worst roads in Nigeria. The roads are Kabba-Kafanchan, Benin bypass, Mokwa-Jebba, Lokoja-Ajaokuta, Aba-Obigbo, Onitsha-Enugu, and Idoma-Benue.

This was the outcome of a study by the firm on the state of Nigeria’s major expressways. The study obtained feedback from the roads most important users – commercial vehicle drivers and coupled these interviews with direct observations of various roads.

According to the report, during the month of September 2017, forty-five drivers, all from forty-five different transport companies, were surveyed in Abuja and Lagos. Each of the survey respondents traveled an average of three routes, and with some overlap. This meant that SBM was provided with information on 102 instances of road travel route information

The report revealed that 71% of the responding drivers believe that Nigerian roads have gotten worse in the last five years.

While surveying the drivers, SBM also spoke with road travellers in Abuja, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi, Lagos and Ondo states. While 19% of those who responded felt that the roads had gotten better in the last five years, 58% felt that the roads have deteriorated. The rest felt that the roads have remained in the same overall condition.

A key cost factor for the drivers is vehicle maintenance, either routine maintenance or visits to the mechanic due to a vehicle’s breakdown. Many of the drivers opined that the deteriorating state of the roads impacted on their vehicle maintenance costs, and transporters have had no choice but to pass this added cost to the commuters. Asked if a greater portion of the driver’s income now goes into vehicle maintenance than before, there was an almost even split in responses.

The results of the study indicates that commercial driving is an occupation that people stay in for a relatively long time. The median length of time spent as a driver for respondents was 22 years.

What remains clear from SBM Intel’s findings is that in the last five years, travel costs have risen significantly. When compared, the prices each driver charged for the 102 routes surveyed today and how they relate to fares from five years ago, in most cases, prices have gone up between 41% and 60%.

The state of Nigerian roads is a representation of the constant decline and decay of public infrastructure all around Nigeria, irrespective of how important they are to national life. Rather than focus of fixing these crucial infrastructure, the elite have decided on a strategy of insulation and avoidance – insulation in the type of vehicles with which they ply the bad roads and avoidance by flying, even for the shortest distances.
What is clear is that Nigerian roads are overworked and under-maintained. Nigeria has some of the most underutilised waterways as well as patently underdeveloped rail system in the world, placing the burden for moving people, goods and services around on the roads.

According to Ikemesit Effiong, lead analyst at SBM Intel, one of the factors responsible for the different areas of Nigeria developing culturally in silos is the state of Nigerian roads. Effiong said that this impacts on the cross fertilisation of ideas essential for cultural integration and nation identity formation.

“Coupled with its impact on cost of doing business and needless loss of human lives, any serious Nigerian government will focus squarely on fixing our roads,” Effiong said.

The firm in the report recommended that the government should not make the mistake of focusing on simply fixing the current roads, but should first carry out a systems needs analysis to determine how the current facts on ground should alter road repair plans before embarking on an aggressive implementation of any new plan that is developed.

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