Despite untold hardship experienced especially by motorists and residents in Kano navigating the town through some major roads in the state, the previous administration of Abdullahi Umar Ganduje claimed to have expended over N30Billion on roads’ rehabilitation, re-construction and maintenance.
According to this investigation, Kano State has a total number of 189 state owned roads spread across seven Local Government Areas, within the metropolis, and a total of 518 within the remaining 37 LGAs, bringing it to a total of 707 state owned roads across the state.
Investigations by Blazon News Nigeria revealed that between 2015 and towards the end of the Ganduje’s administration, the State Urban Planning and Development Authority (KNUPDA), responsible for the construction and maintenance of roads within the metropolis, spent not less than N3,915,701,562.71 (According to data Obtained by this medium) on the construction of 17 roads, before the responsibility of maintenance was taken over from the agency by the then governor who transferred the mandate to the Kano State Road Management Agency (KARMA), as revealed by KANUPDA.
A cursory look at budget and funds released to the State Road Maintenance Agency for rehabilitation indicated that KARMA got N30,604,096,969.67, these funds, according to official statistics obtained during the course of this investigation from the State Ministry of Works, were used for the rehabilitation and maintenance of 72 roads between 2015 to 2022 ending.
Notwithstanding the huge expended funds, hardly can one drive for one kilometer within the city without encountering disgusting potholes.
Also, there are other disturbing conditions requiring dire and urgent attention, a development that earlier led to a public outcry in the state, which compelled the State Government to approve the sum of N1.2 billion in the month of October 2022 to address the challenges, while this investigation was ongoing, as additional emergency funds for the reconstruction of roundabouts, rehabilitation and maintenance of 42 roads within the metropolis.
Kano CSOs React
The team leader of the then pioneer of Kano \budget Partners (DFID Project), and now the Project Manager, Gender and Socially Inclusive, Ibrahim Garba Maryam said the major problem identified by his group is lack of transparency on the part of the State government.
“We are dealing with issues of over expenditures which are perfected by the state assembly through supplementary budgets.
Some of these so-called roads are nowhere to be found because you can’t trace them, which means the funds have been embezzled.
KARMA was exposed especially during the 2022 rainy season due to heavy downpour which further worsened the situation of roads in the state and rather than asking for accountability, the governor opted for releasing more funds to them, KARMA needs to be thoroughly investigated,” he added.
Comrade Muhktar Lawal, Citizen Stability Forum, while reacting to the development said, “The roads speak for themselves, if KARMA said they have expended such amount of money, then we need to ask them where they spent the money.
This calls for urgent investigation on the activities of KARMA because if you look at the roads in Kano State way back in 2015, they were in good shape, in fact, this level of dilapidation became more noticeable from the year, 2017, so, this is a very serious issue that calls for the attention of all stakeholders, they need to be investigated, and this is our stand”, he said.
Salisu Yusuf, Secretary Accountability Mechanism (Budget tracking group) has this to say; “If 30 billion is truly spent on roads rehabilitation, then, we shouldn’t experience what we saw, it is not a small money.
“What they do often, is just to close up some potholes but end up coming up with figures that are not imaginable”.
“Right now, you cannot come directly from Katsina road or Airport Road to go through Zungeru road due to the sorry state of the roads, so, which roads have they been repairing”?
“Under Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s administration, one major challenge we had was, uncountable projects with money claimed to have been spent”.
“Aside probing them, they should be made to account for every kobo spent before they get new releases, that way, KARMA will begin to meet up to its responsibilities”, he said.
Some motorists and residents interviewed on the development before the release of the N1.2 billion have this to say:
Abubakar Isma’il a commercial truck driver interviewed on Audu Bako Way said; “It is really disturbing that roads withing the city of Kano have become this terrible.
Just imagine that this particular road leads to the government house. We don’t know what Karma has been doing, the governor must do something quick to address the problem”.
Jamilu Hassan, a tricyclist interviewed on the airport road by Ahmadiya junction said; “We no longer carry passengers to some particular areas of the state due to bad roads. The number of deep potholes on the roads are disturbing, it affects our tricycles over time. This is the airport road but see the kind of potholes on it.
Some of the roads are filled up with stagnant water when it rains, going to such places washes off our grease and that also affects our shock absorbers. If we must ply such bad roads, we charge passengers extra which often leads to arguments”, he said
Obinna Uwadike, a resident of Sabon Gari expressed the following views; “Our case in Sabon Gari has been a unique one, we don’t have any good road despite the huge revenue generated from the area”.
“How can a big and commercial State like Kano be suffering from lack of roads within the city”?
The government knows very well that this has a negative effect on the business community in the state but one wonders why this problem is allowed to linger this long.