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The problems of transportation in Nigeria can be viewed from the nature of the physical environment and the operation of the system.

Nature of Physical Environment:

Physical environmental problems in the construction of roads and railways along or across high areas are very difficult to overcome.

1. Cost: A lot of money is usually spent when cutting down trees in the forested south (See Nigeria Vegetation).

2. Rivers: The rivers have a lot of rapids. It is quite expensive to construct bridges and the rivers carry and deposit a lot of sand and logs. During the dry season some of the rivers dry up and some become shallow, which creates navigational problems.

3. Flood & Erosion: The floods of the rainy season wash away roads and create potholes on the roads. The road’s tar also gets melted by the hot sun. This makes the tar form lumps and rough edges (as a result of erosion) that are dangerous to drive on.

4. Weather: The clouds, line squalls, as well as the harmattan haze are hazardous to flight operations.

5. Distance: The energy, cost and time spent on transportation increase as the distance between two places get longer.

6. Presence of Highlands: The presence of highlands makes it difficult to construct roads, airports and railways in a particular area.

Operational Problems:

The problems are in parts; economic, social and engineering.

1. Cost: Many Nigerians cannot afford new cars because they are too expensive to purchase. Lack of capital makes it difficult for the government to construct roads, railways, airports, etc. The maintenance of our roads and vehicles are not adequate owing to the high cost of spare parts, labour and fuel.

2. Lack of Security: Among the social problems is the menace of armed robbers which makes inter-state travel very risky.

3. Traffic Congestion: Roads, especially in urban areas, are bedevilled with traffic congestion which is characterized by slower speeds, longer trip times, and increased vehicular queueing.

4. Lack of patience & Discipline: Road users do not show a sense of discipline when using the roads, which leads to fights, accidents and loss of life.

5. Lack of Planning & Maintenance: The roads are constructed with poor engineering supervision and adaptation planning. The use of obsolete equipment, as well as poor maintenance of our aircraft and mobility of radar to link up with air traffic control towers, have greatly contributed to frequent air mishaps (disasters) that have taken place in Nigeria since the 1990s.

6. Terrorism: Terrorist groups have targeted trains, planes, sea vessels and road users as vulnerable targets. The most recent example is the Abuja–Kaduna train attack in Katari, Kaduna State which disrupted operations along the route.

Summary of Problems of Transportation in Nigeria:

The following are the problems of transportation in Nigeria:

1. Most of the roads in Nigeria are in bad shape. This makes access to any location in the country difficult.

2. The effects of bad weather affect air transport, especially during the dusty period of the dry season. Harmattan dust disturbs visibility. In most cases, flights are either cancelled or delayed.

3. The presence of water weeds or hyacinth is a source of worry because it disturbs the easy movement of water vehicles.

4. Traffic, accidents and criminal activities take place on the roads.

5. Traffic congestion is characteristic of urban areas of the country.

6. Fuel price inflation and scarcity.

Solution to Transportation Problems:

1. The roads should be maintained so that they are motorable all the time and access to rural areas made possible.

2. The airports should be well maintained and required equipment provided to avoid air accidents.

3. The waterways should be cleared of water weeds to allow easy movement of water vehicles.

4. Security should be intensified on the roads to curb criminal activities on the roads.

5. Traffic control officers should be made to perform their duties to reduce motor traffic congestion.

6. There should be enough supply of fuel and price control measures put in place.

Evaluation Questions:

1. On an outline map of Nigeria indicate;
– Port Harcourt, Nguru and Maiduguri, river Niger and any two ports on it.
– Two domestic airports.
– Two international airports.
– Two river ports.
– Two seaports.

2. State four problems of river transportation in Nigeria.

3. (a) Give the value of transportation to the economic development of Nigeria.

(b) How are these problems being solved?

4. State the advantages and disadvantages of four means of transportation including road, rail and air transport systems.


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