Youths in Niger State on Saturday morning took to the major roads in Minna, Niger State capital, to protest the poor supply of electricity by the Abuja Electricity Development Company (AEDC); bad federal roads across the state; and worsening insecurity.
They threatened to shut down the three hydroelectric dams in Shiroro, Kainji, and Jebba, and block articulated vehicles from all federal roads in the state.
They also demanded for the reform of the Nigeria Police and an end to Police brutality, just as a chieftain of the party said it was regrettable the state supported President Muhammadu Buhari in the last election, but continues to suffer neglect.
All Progressive Congress (APC) chieftain and Special Adviser to Niger state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, Mallam Nma Kolo, ventilated the anger of the people and state government when he lamented that despite the overwhelming support the state gave Buhari in 2015 and 2019, the state has not felt any federal presence, especially in the area of roads.
“There is no better word to put than to say that the President has failed the people of Niger state despite the overwhelming support he had enjoyed from state in 2015 and 2019 elections”.
Kolo views resonate with his principal, Sani Bello, who is believed to be stewing beneath the surface, that when he succumbs to overtures from Abuja to open up State government roads, he returns home to a barrage of insults from indigenes who express disappointment with him and his administration.
The Governor closed dilapidating state roads under construction from tanker drivers weeks ago; but was summoned to Abuja, where he was prevailed upon.to reopen within 48 hours.
Shortly after, he met with Buhari where he allegedly extracted promises for repairs of the federal roads criss-crossing the vast state; but road users continue to lament the poor state of the roads.
Kolo alleges in an interview with journalists in Minna, that after all the support Buhari got from indigenes, he has turned his back and failed to fulfill any of his campaign promises.
He spoke against the backdrop of the continuing traffic gridlock that has made trips on the Suleja-Minna and Minna-Bida highways hellish for travellers.
Niger state has a 75,353 kilometers of federal roads, cutting across about 15 local government areas of the state.
His words: “It is regrettable that despite the importance of its location, Niger State cannot boast of good road networks. Federal Roads or better still, Trunk A roads in the state have become death traps…
“It is important for us to note that the federal presence for roads in Niger state is nothing to write home about” Kolo further declared.
“We seek that Niger state should not be left alone to be taken over by flooding and bad roads which are endangering the lives of our people daily, the state has lost a lot due to this, investors will have more confidence with better road networks, there will be more connection for the country if Niger state works and this is our appeal to the government.
The youths on Saturday marched the streets of the state capital carrying placards that lamented the problems of the state and country.
Some of the banners read: “#Save Niger State ” “End banditry”, “End, bad roads” “End “AEDC”.,” End Insecurity Now” “End rape” “End Bokoharam”.
One of the spokesmen for the protesting groups, Mohammed Mohammed, said their own protest is to “seek government’s attention in tackling the peculiar challenges that Niger State is confronted with.
“It is unfortunate that despite the contributions being made by Niger State to the federal government, particularly the four hydro power dams situated in the state, the presence of the federal government has not been felt in our state.
“Power supply has been erratic, thereby slowing down economic growth in Niger State as youths who are into entrepreneurship cannot sustain their businesses” Mohammed said while addressing the protesters.