Nigeria’s Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola recently came under criticism by many Nigerians for his claims that Nigeria’s roads are not as bad as people portray it.
Expectedly, the report generated varied criticisms from Nigerians on social media, most exceptionally on the micro blog platform, Twitter.
A twitter user mocked the minister and some other government official on Twitter, writing: “Kidnapping in Nigeria is exaggerated – #AudioVP Osinbajo. There’s no hunger in the land – Minister of Agric Nanono. Nigerian roads not as bad as portrayed – Fashola. Obviously these people are living in a different Nigeria. Such a disconnection from reality.”
Another twitter user said, “This man’s head has been corrupted by the allure of ministerial office. Take a look at Oju-Otukpo federal road, Oju-Awajir Road and Otukpo-Enugu road alone.”
A member of the House of Representatives, Bamidele Salam (PDP-Osun) also challenged the minister, as well as other concerned stakeholders, to boycott air travel for a 90-day road travel tour. The PDP also called for the minister’s resignation.
Fashola did indeed say, “not as bad as sometimes” about Nigerian roads while speaking to State House correspondents Wednesday.
However, the statement was reported out of context by some media houses.
Did Fashola say ‘Nigerian roads are not that bad’
The particular statement came came towards the end of his keynote speech speaking to State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting of Wednesday, November 6, 2019. The video of that speech can be read here.
Fashola was talking about some of the ongoing road projects when he when he said:
“To appeal to you, yes, we are here to solve problems. Problems (are) headlines for you. But I think, for balance, it is also to show that not all of the roads are bad. Because the focus is on the bad part but you owe Nigerians, whose taxes we use, to also show them that some works (are) going on. Because it is not all Nigerian roads that are unmotorable.
“On Benin-Warri road, for example, many sections are motorable. It is a part that has caved in and collapsed, and that’s where the pain is, and that’s where we would respond to. Same thing for Lagos-Ibadan.
“It is important for us to have balance in order to encourage people to have hope in the country because it is not as bad as sometimes we portray it. That’s your headline, we know. But it’s important we let them know that on a 100km stretch, maybe 10-15 per cent is bad.
“Maybe you actually drive to that point before you feel the pain. Those are the places we would address. Thank you very much.”