Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
Before about two years ago or so, some communities in the boundary areas between Enugu and Ebonyi States especially those in Aninri, Ohaozara, Onicha, and Ivo Local Government Areas have had a taste of hell on their roads including the federal roads which linked them up.
While Aninri is in Enugu State; Ohaozara, Onicha, and Ivo are in Ebonyi State. Beyond the two states, the roads, by extension also linked up Imo and Abia States through the Ivo axis of the federal highway.
The roads, before their construction began, were sorely dilapidated, slippery, and almost not accessible given their horrible conditions.
Until the federal government embarked on construction of the roads linking the aforesaid states, residents of the areas explained that it was hellish using them particularly during the rainy season.
A resident of Okpome Nenwe in Aninri council area, Mr Cosmas Oji, 60, told Daily Sun that the road had remained terribly bad since he was born until its construction began.
“Before they constructed this road, it was slippery and didn’t allow for smooth movements. It was swampy such that from your house to the market, the road used to be full of muddy water.
“The road had been very bad ever since I was born. I was born in the year 1959. The road was very, very bad. We are happy it has been tarred. The road leads to Mpu, Agboh, Ohaozara and other communities”, he said.
While expressing gratitude to the federal government; some of the people told Daily Sun that they were particularly happy that it was their son, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, who attracted the projects.
Indeed, many roads and bridges in Enugu West Senatorial District both completed and ongoing were attributed to the Deputy Senate President.
Although construction works for roads and bridges in some parts of the benefiting council areas have been completed, a number of them are rapidly ongoing.
One of those ongoing is the19km Nenwe-Nome-Mburumbu-Nara Road with an 8.50km spur from Obeagu Road awarded to Arab Contractors at the sum of N6,437,166,957.38. The construction work commenced on June 30, 2017 and is expected to last for 24 months.
Another one is 26 kilometres Nenwe-Uduma-Uburu Road and a spur to Ishiagu-Mile 2 Road which is 14 kilometres; awarded to Setraco Nigeria Ltd. The two have one bridge each which constructions are nearing completion.
To be sure that the works were being done according to specifications, the House of Representatives Committee on Works toured the project sites recently for inspection.
The lawmakers were led by the committee’s chairman, Hon. Tobi Okechukwu, who represents Aninri/Awgu/Oji River Federal Constituency.
From one point to the other, the legislators critically looked at the sections done so far and the ongoing ones; asking questions, pointing out mistakes and making commendations were appropriate.
Okechukwu spoke to newsmen after the inspection, saying that they identified some issues.
“Road construction is not an artwork; it is science based. So, we are expecting the result and we have given the supervising engineer certain results that we will need.
“We feel that the wearing is a bit coarse in one of the projects. So, we want to see that it is properly done. Then, there is also the issue of the sub base which we also want some test results given to us.
“We also have challenges of compensation which have made them to jump some areas. So, those issues need to be resolved quickly. Then, there are a number of items that are not captured in the works which include three bridges.
“There has to be a proactive measure to make sure that those things come into place quickly. We don’t want them to stay longer than necessary on this project”, he said.
In his speech, the Federal Controller of Works in Ebonyi State who supervises the projects; Obioha Bede expressed satisfaction with the level of work done so far by the contractors, but however, noted that there were few errors which were already being resolved.
Obioha said: “It is a big relief for the people. The whole places we have visited are all agrarian. Now, with this road, it will be easier for them to evacuate their food crops. It is opening up the markets for the farmers.
“And again, there are mineral deposits here. The other road we did is passing through Ishiagu. Ishiagu, I can tell you, is the main supplier of granite to almost all construction sites in the South East.
“Both for the transporter and the end user, it is good news and government should be commended for that”.