From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
For many years, Mobile Barracks Adeke Road, Makurdi, Benue State, was a nightmare to motorists and commuters. It was bad and impassible. It was riddled with bumps and potholes and was worst during the rainy seasons.
This development forced many residents to avoid the 24-kilometre road, which stretches from Mobile Police Barracks Junction to Welfare Quarters. Efforts to get successive governments to construct or at least, upgrade the road failed. For some unknown reasons, the road was simply ignored, even though there were spirited efforts to call attention of the various state governments to the development.
Recently, however, Governor Samel Ortom awarded the contract for the construction of the road. The result is excellent. A sweet stretch of alsphat lay all over the once bumpy road. Mrs. Enechojo Adebayo, a foodstuff trader in the area, recalled how difficult it was to transport her wares from some of the rural markets to her shop before now:
“Before now the road was so bad that the whole road was impassible. At a point, we had to be passing through another area that is just a little better than this road. We were happy when Governor Ortom came to our rescue and constructed the road.” She said the new road has attracted development to the area: “All those who have their plots close to the main road have built lockup shops and leased them out to traders.”
Another resident, Isaac Tersoo, said at some point, he had to park his car at home and resorted to trekking through to Naka Road, before getting a vehicle or a motorcycle to take him to work. He recalled how one of his friends lost his wife who just had a baby on that same road:
“The woman suddenly started bleeding in the night and her husband managed to carry her into his car and drove as fast as he could on that bad road to the hospital. By the time he got to the hospital, he had not only lost his wife but also the engine of his car.”
Mrs. Elizabeth Ama, who has lived in the area for over 10 years, said: “It was difficult trekking on the road. When Fulani came to attack the area, I was pregnant and could not run fast as gunshots resonated across the streets. I fell at a point, how I survived was a miracle.
“You can imagine how happy I was when I saw that construction work had commenced on the road. At a point, many insinuated that the project would be abandoned halfway. But we are happy that the completion of the road had sealed the lips of those doubting Thomases. I am very happy that Ortom has constructed the road and we are truly grateful because we can now move on the road with ease.
Mr. John Ikechukwu Ani, who operates a patent medicine store, said some house owners had to move out of the area and put their houses on sale in the wake of the Fulani attack on the area, sometimes in 2014:
“I have been in this area for six years. I came in 2014 and the road was a no-go-area. It was so bushy and un-trekkable to the point that commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as Okada riders, avoided the area like a plague.
“We are happy the governor intervened and fixed the road. This greatly helped as it has also freed us from the hands of herdsmen, who constantly attack the area. We are now enjoying the road from the Mobile Junction to Welfare Quarters.
“When Fulani came to this area, some sold their houses while others abandoned theirs and relocated either out of town or to other states. Everywhere has now been occupied and the Fulani cannot come. We are now living in peace here.”