By Rita Iliya
Minna -Niger state government has denied the allegations of closing down the existing Federal roads in the state to articulated vehicles.
Alhaji Balarabe Ibrahim, Chairman, Infrastructure and Project Monitoring Committee and Chief of Staff to Gov. Abubakar Bello, said this during a news conference in Minna on Thursday.
He said that some news reports that the state government had closed down Federal roads was not true, adding that the state do not have the power to restrict movement of vehicles on federal roads.
Ibrahim added that the state government only restricted movement of articulated vehicles on state owned-roads such as Minna-Bida-Zungeru-Wushishi-Lapai-Muye-Lapai-Paiko-Chanchaga bridge-Maikunkele roads.
“There is no going back on our decision to ban articulated trucks from plying the state-owned roads.
“We still stand on our position and we won’t relent on that. Our roads still remain closed to articulate trucks,” he said.
He noted that adequate sensitisation and engagement with relevant stakeholders were carried out before the roads were barricaded, adding that motorists were given two week notice.
He noted that articulated vehicles were free to ply the Bida-Lapai-Lambata road and Mokwa-Tegina-Birnin-Gwari-Kaduna road which were federal roads.
The chairman said that the decision to close down state owned roads was to allow contractor to speed up the reconstruction work.
He noted that the state government would not go back on its decision or bow to pressure to reopen the roads, urging the federal government to fix the federal roads in the state.
Ibrahim said that the state was operating under the law as stakeholders were in support of the closure, adding that the state had made several appeals to federal government which fell on deaf ears.
He noted that the report by Petroleum Tankers Drivers (PTD) to cut off fuel distribution to the North due to the closure of the state owned-roads was between them and the federal government.