Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, yesterday received the people’s nod to obtain $150 million loan from the African Development Bank to reconstruct the 178 kilometres Ebonyi Ring Road.
The people gave the nod during the 2020 revised budget public participation at the Ecumenical Centre in Abakaliki.
The governor said he was moved to seek the loan in order to fix the ring road which he said would connect seven local government areas across the state.
Umahi disclosed that his government has completed about 31 kilometres of the road mostly on concrete pavement.
He noted that the loan would be the first and last his administration will obtain till its expiration in 2023.
“This road runs through seven local government areas of Ebonyi North and Central senatorial zones. This project of which we have paid our 25 percent counterpart funding by constructing 31km of the road mostly on eight inches thick concrete pavement, is remaining 147km of road to be financed with $150 million loan. The loan have been approved and domiciled in Central Bank of Nigeria. The processes of international bidding for the award of contracts are ongoing and hopefully, the eight segments of the road contracts shall be awarded before September.
“The entire road designs are being reviewed to see that concrete pavement be used because of frequent failures of flexible pavement in Ebonyi State. The savings from this fund will be used to construct more internal roads within the benefitting communities and also perform other social responsibilities to the host communities.
“This project, when completed, will completely change the fortunes of Ebonyi State. The Africa tran-sahara international road passing through our capital city from Enugu to Ogoja shall be diverted to this Abakaliki ring road. The economic activities in Ebonyi State shall increase through agriculture, mining, trade, factories and industries,” Umahi said.
The governor also used the opportunity to correct what he described as wrong impression that his administration was constructing a cargo airport, stating that the airport is an international airport, which when completed, will compete with other in airports anywhere in the World.
Speaking on the fight against coronavirus, Governor Umahi said his administration has not left any stone unturned towards containing the virus.
He said he would not shutdown the state because of the pandemic, but urged the residents to comply with all protocols put in place by governments and National Centre for Disease Control.