The Human Rights, Liberty Access and Peace Defenders Foundation (HURIDE), has asked the Federal government and Governments in South East states to declare a state of emergency on roads in the zone.
In a statement in Owerri, the Imo State capital, HURIDE called on the governments to take drastic, palliative and urgent actions to address the problem of bad roads in the zone.
According to the Chairman, Board of Trustees of HURIDE, Dede Uzor A. Uzor, the zone has the worst road networks in the country.
He accused the Federal government of paying lip service to the construction of southeast roads, lamenting that the much-celebrated Enugu- Onitsha Expressway is still in a deplorable state.
Uzor said the roads in the country particularly in South East can only be compared to those in war-torn countries in Africa like South Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea among others.
He said some of the roads including the Enugu-Porthacourt road, the 9th Mile Corner- Oturkpo road, Onitsha-Owerri, Enugu -Abakiliki, Owerri-Aba- Port Harcourt, Onitsha – Aguleri -Ayamelum – Nsukka road, Ihiala-Orlu-Umuahia, Akokwa-Urualla-Umuchima-Ihioma-Amaifeke bursting at Banana junction via Imo State capital Owerri abandon since 1983, Onitsha-Otuocha- Adani-Nsukka road also abandoned since 1983 and many other roads in the zone were now death traps and some decaying bridges like Okija bridge, Orashi Ideato bridge and Njaba among other bridges throughout the South East.
He said the state roads in the zone were not better either, lamenting that all trunk A, B and C roads in the zone were all in bad state.
“If these roads are in good shape, they will boast the economic activities in the zone.
A journey that will take an hour now takes five hours. About 5,000 lives are lost every year in the South East as a result of bad road,” which were accident-prone, said HURIDE boss.
Uzor accused governors of southeast states of failing to do enough to improve the lives of their citizens through massive road construction, employment, asking that they should as a matter of urgency wake up and rise up to their statutory responsibilities. Continuing he said: “They are not doing anything on the roads and empowering the youths in their respective states.”
The activist said the bad roads in the zone had reached an embarrassing stage that most roads in cities in the South East like Enugu, Awka, Owerri, Aba, Umuahia, Onitsha, Abakiliki, Nsukka, Nnewi are impassable and unmotorable.
He warned that if the situation persisted, HURIDE would have no other option than to mobilise people across the zone to protest the inactivity, indifference and insensitivity of the governors to the plight of the defenceless people.