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Insight & Analysis - April 24, 2022

7 States With the Worst Road Networks in Nigeria

In West Africa, Nigerian states have the largest road network. Nigeria has a road networks of roughly 195,000 kilometres, of which about 60,000 kilometres are paved, according to the Government Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission 2019.

Most of the major road networks were built in the 1980s and early 1990s. However, the state of roads is degrading due to poor maintenance and the use of low-quality materials in repairs. 

The potholes and degraded, uneven surfaces make travelling a hassle in regions during the rainy season.

Most major highways in Nigeria ran from south to north. They were built to transport produce from the hinterlands to the coast for export and connect the economies of ancient Northern and Southern Nigeria.

We know Nigerian states for their extensive road networks. People have been subjected to horrible experiences when travelling these roads. 

Many have lost loved ones, belongings, and other items in accidents that frequently occur due to the deteriorating state of the roads.

However, learning how to manoeuvre their vehicle steering when driving on these terrible roads has become a way of life for Nigerian drivers.

Here are 7 states with the worst road networks in Nigeria.


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1. Abia State

The state is often called Nigeria’s own China because of its vibrant business ecosystem. The state’s Aba market is well-known for its burgeoning industrialisation.

Traders at the Aba market produce a wide range of Nigerian-made clothing, shoes, and textile materials and some industrial goods that, for the most part, meet international standards.

Abia State, on the other hand, is a contradiction. With Abia’s trade influence on Nigeria, one might expect the government to prioritise the basics, which are good roads for easy transportation of manufactured goods, but this is not the case.

Abia’s roads have deteriorated to the point where driving is nearly impossible when it rains.

Flooding has become commonplace, and it is sometimes worsened by overflowing garbage cans.

Meanwhile, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu proudly lists the establishment of fast food outlets such as Dominos Pizza and the Chicken Republic as some of his successes in the state after six years in office.

2. Edo State

In Edo state, poor road networks have become a way of life for the people. Rubber slippers have become an essential feature of corporate attire because they make waddling through puddles better.

Benin City has it worse, with potholes so terrible that it’s difficult to know if it’s ever been better.

It also doesn’t help that the Benin Bypass, one of Edo’s busiest routes, has turned into a death trap.

Driving by Edo roads can be compared to the feeling of surviving a fall from maybe 200 flights of stairs.

3. Imo State

Formerly known as the Land of Hope. Imo state is an active irony for a state with a governor whose first name is Hope and a surname that loosely translates to “the road is good.” 

Governor Uzodimma appears to be hell-bent on achieving the goal of his surname oppositely.

The status of the roads in Owerri, the state capital, is so bad that residents have started creating tiny alternate routes in locations where they wouldn’t ordinarily walk.

4. Anambra State

Even though Anambra State benefits from Nigeria’s Ecological Fund, significant erosion has eaten up the Ekwulobia, Oko, Isuofia, and Igboukwu highways, leaving traces that resemble earthquake aftermaths.

Anambra is one of Nigeria’s most important commercial centres. The Onitsha Main Market is one of West Africa’s largest markets.

Innoson Motors, Nigeria’s first self-made automobile line, was founded in Nnewi.

The accomplishments above could have been sufficient justifications for making travel to and from the state a pleasant experience.

When sworn in, Governor Chukwuma Soludo said he only met N300 million in Anambra reserves and inherited N100 billion debts from former Governor Willie Obiano’s reign.

5. Lagos State

Lagos State, also known as the “centre of excellence”, has approximately 20 million people. 

Despite this, Lagos State has the poorest road network in Nigeria. This could be linked to the Apapa ports’ endless traffic jams and activities.

Lagos residents have become accustomed to spending hours stuck in traffic or walking long distances to attend critical appointments. 

It takes a smidgeon of rain to shut down the state and keep everyone inside for many hours.

6. Rivers State

Residents in the state capital, Port Harcourt, have discovered a way to adapt to the off-road scenario by driving trucks and SUVs.

Private drivers and cab-hailing service drivers who know how to maintain their vehicles in the city are the most common users of small cars.

The roads are in such horrible shape that some craters have been excavated. Smaller communities are even worse off.

7. Benue State

Due to years of neglect, most federal roads in Benue State have deteriorated beyond what locals can handle.

For a long time, the roads have been in deplorable shape. Roads in Makurdi, Otukpo, and the rest of the state are beyond repair, washed away to the point where it’s difficult to determine whether they were ever tarred.

With the state’s high rate of insecurity, it’s been suggested that Governor Samuel Ortom’s active involvement in combating insecurity may have protected him from criticism over poor road development.


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