ABIA [Umuahia/Ikwuano/Ikot Ekpene Road]: Onuigbo Interacts With Constituents, Reveals Project Status
The Honorable Member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia Federal Constituency of Abia State, Representative Sam Onuigbo, has assured of a total reconstruction of the long collapsed Umuahia/Ikwuano/Ikot-Ekpene federal road.
Rep. Onuigbo gave this assurance on Thursday, January 6, 2022 during a stake holder’s meeting on the reconstruction of Umuahia/Ikwuano/ Ikot-Ekpene Federal road held at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike (MOUAU) Women Association Event Centre in Umuahia.
The road has drawn attention owing to it being neglected for years not minding its economic importance.
Rep. Onuigbo’s continuous intervention has brought about several palliative works on that road with an eventual full re construction awarded.
However, light shone in the tunnel in December 2021, as the Minister for Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola in a letter addressed to Hon. Onuigbo, revealed that funds have been approved for the reconstruction of the road under the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Road Tax Credit Scheme.
The minister urged the lawmaker to prevail on his constituents to remove all crops and structures within the right of way to allow for free and speedy reconstruction of the road.
Relaying the minister’s good news to the people at the meeting; Hon. Sam said;
“As we get ready to welcome the contractors back to site, let me use this medium to communicate to you that the Honourable minister has written to me, asking me to address you to ensure that efforts are made to remove crops and buildings that are within the Right of Way (RoW) so as to ensure that the contractors have an unimpeded access to the road as they resume work.”
The lawmaker recalling his numerous efforts to ensure that the pains of the people plying that road are alleviated said;
“The Umuahia/Ikwuano/Ikot-Ekpene federal road is a burden we have collectively borne. At no point in all my years at the National Assembly have I lost sight of the need to fix this road. Neither have I ever stopped working hard to realize this dream. I have determinedly been a constant at the offices of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.
I wear this shoe and I know where it pains the most. Thankfully, help is finally here. Let us therefore play our parts and ensure that there will be no inhibition to the speedy realization of this dream.”
He explained that the road construction had lingered because of paucity of fund.
Earlier in his remark, the Chairman of the occasion and Medical Director FMC Umuahia, Prof. Azubuike Onyebuchi advised that any effort to make sure that the road is fixed should be encouraged as it has become a stigma that a road leading to the only federal institution in Abia state is in a very bad shape.
The medical practitioner appealed to the host community members not to obstruct or hinder the construction of the road when it eventually commence.
On his own part, the Vice Chancellor, MOUAU, Professor Maduebibisi Ofo Iwe stressed on the need for the project to be pursued with all resources available to ensure that the road is fixed for good notwithstanding that it will affect structures of so many people.
He pleaded with monarchs present and all involved to educate their followers to corporate with the construction plan.
Addressing the participants in the meeting, the Public Relations Executive, Messrs. Hartland Nigeria Limited and Raycon Company Nigerial Limited, Mrs Grace Gbagi noted that the construction company stopped work not for lack of capacity but for fund.
Speaking on marking of structures, demolition and compensation, she explained that those liable for compensation from the FG, are those whose structures are not on the Right of Way but has to be demolished to aid easy work.
“if your building is on the Right of Way, don’t expect compensation. When your building is not on the Right of Way, the Federal Government will know what to do. They’ve already set up a firm that are enumerating houses that are not on Right of Way and we have an agreement with them; except those people are compensated, we cannot move in.”
“we are going to be fair. Because, if we actually follow the exact Right of Way, some houses will go and there will be no compensation. We will try to concentrate on shops.”
She explained that when a drainage channel is constructed, a certain meter is meant to be left out. However, the company will try to minimize the number of houses to be demolished to avoid people becoming homeless.
Gbagi added that once funds are released to the company, work will start in earnest.
Earlier in his speech, Engr. Mikel Ntu representing the Controller, Federal Ministry of Works, called for corporation from stakeholders for the smooth running of the project.
He regretted that people have erected structures too close to the road not minding the risks involved.
“If your building or any structure is within the right of way, there is nothing the government can do but if you are not, there is a consultant to address that.”
Giving suggestions, the Sector Commander Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Abia state, Paul Ikechukwu Ogbu, said there should be a pedestrian bridge at the MOUAU axis for the students, including speed breakers/bumps.
He noted that people, whose structures are encroaching on the road, will need to be removed as nothing good comes easy.
According to the Commander, the bad nature of the road reduces the FRSC’s work speed as victims of accident most times die even before rescue team arrive.
Traditional rulers at the event including Eze Onwuka, and Eze Onwubuariri charged their people to accept the project in good faith as it will be for their good.
They challenged Onuigbo to ensure that the road commences and gets to the end while advising the construction companies to ensure that casualties are reduced during construction.
Participants at the event include; representatives from National Root Crop Research Institute Umudike (NRCRI), Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), FRSC, Abia State Trade Union, NURTW, Monarchs, Clergy men, President Generals of Ikwuano/Umuahia communities, MOUAU, National Chairman of ASUU, Yoruba Community in Abia, Akwa Ibom Community in Abia, Christian Association of Nigeria, Drivers Welfare and keke Union, Students Union, NUJ, etc.