High level of insecurity that has bedeviled Niger State was the reason behind contractors abandoning ongoing road projects, as many workers, especially expatriates involved in the construction have either been killed or kidnapped for ransom.
Some Chinese construction firms such as Gilmor, CBC, HMF and ENERCO Contrucruon Companies, had to abandoned the roads for three years or more pending when the security agencies would clear the bandits from those sites.
Niger State Federal Controller of Works, Engr. Samotu Moshood, who made this known in an interview with Newsline, however said very soon, work will begin on the sites as soldiers have been mobilised to mount guards on all the federal roads.
"Minna-Zungeru, Kontagora-Rijau road and Kontagora-Bangi roads have been awarded since 2013 but there is nothing the contractors could do because bandits chased them out of the sites, especially Kontagora-Bangi.
"But fortunately for us, the contractor handling Kontagora-Rijau road have resumed to site after running away for close to three years.
"Also, Kontagora-Bangi road, they are about to resume because two months ago, the soldiers were deployed to the place and we have seen now that they are ready to resume, they have promised us and I even held meeting with them two weeks ago.
"But this one you mentioned Mokwa-Tegina Road, the same thing, bandits chased them away but it has been re-awarded and the contractor will resume," Moshood said.
Niger State has the largest number of federal roads in the country and most of them have remained in a deplorable condition because the construction firms awarded the contracts have been afraid to send workers to the sites because of the fear of bandits who abduct their workers.
Moshood expressed confidence that with the deployment of military personnel to the sites, the contractors will be ready to conclude the work.
He, however pointed out that the incident in which some bandits in Niger State killed about 36 soldiers recently, would dampened the morale of soldiers and the construction workers, stressing that something have to be done to ensure that the workers returned to site.
"Actually, it can affect their morale, but with encouragement from us and when government is involved, I think it will help the situation.
"And then, the government too is trying to make sure that those areas are free of bandits. I think it will not affect them much. But there is no way it will not affect them at all.
"The workers will be protected. For instance that section 2 that I mentioned, they are giving them 35 military personnel and I think some of the other sites have similar deployment.
"Niger State will soon enjoy good roads, the past government actually tried because we have NNPCL funding about nine of the roads.
"Then, apart from the main budget and then the one that SUKUK is funding, if the contractors follow the plan, in the next three to four years, you will see Niger state will have very good roads," he added.
The governor of Niger State, Mohammed Umaru Bago, has joined other governors to attend a three-day leadership retreat in Kigali, Rwanda.
The retreat is organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF).
The retreat is part of the UNDP's commitment to raising the level of governance, especially in Africa.
The Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the governor, Mal. Bologi Ibrahim, said the event was expected to provide a platform for public officials to collectively reflect, learn, and exchange insights on effective leadership and complex challenges.
Participants will also be equipped with the necessary skills and ways to lead in highly complex and uncertain environments.
Other members of the NGF are also in attendance at the event, along with high-profile speakers and facilitators.