A bill to establish a Federal Roads Authority scaled second reading at
the Senate on Wednesday.
The bill seeks to give the agency powers of ownership, regulation,
management and development of federal roads networks.
Also, part of the intentions of the bill is to repeal the Federal Road
Maintenance Agency (FERMA) Act 2002, the Federal Highways Act, 1971
and the Control of Advertisement Act 1986.
The bill was passed by the eight National Assembly but President
Muhammadu Buhari declined assent to it.
“The establishment of the road sector regulator as a separate and
distinctive body in Part 6 of the bill is capable of rendering the
entire technical workforce of the supervisory ministry redundant,” the
president said as he gave his reasons for rejecting the bill.
“The supervisory power of the ministry over the road sector would be
taken over by the road sector regulator and will leave the ministry
without the power to exercise its supervisory role.”
Leading the debate, Gershom Bassey (PDP, Cross River South) who
sponsored the bill, said Nigeria’s road sector should be
“oversight[ed] by the ministry of works, managed by the federal road
authority, delivered by the private sector, financed by both
government subventions and revenues that are outside the national
This is even as he decried the “tremendous pressure” on Nigerian roads
because of other means of transportation like “waterways are
underdeveloped and air transportation is too expensive for most
The N870 billion meant for road maintenance has not been disbursed by
the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) as mandated by the
law, he explained.
“The road development and maintenance in Nigeria seems uncoordinated
hence the need to pass the bill to create a framework that allows
other revenue streams to support government budgetary efforts on
“It further seeks to manage the road networks so that they are safe
and efficient in a view to meeting the socio-economic demands of the
“Facilitate the development of competitive market and promotion of
enabling environments for private sector participation in the
financing, maintenance and improvement of our roads in Nigeria.”