By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives yesterday urged the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to urgently take palliative measures to address the deplorable state of Aba-Port Harcourt and Aba-Ikot Ekpene roads.
The House also called on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to urgently embark on reconstruction and rehabilitation of
Obiaruku-Utagba-Uno-Ugili-Amai-Iselegu road in Delta State.
The two resolutions followed two separate motions considered by the House at Tuesday plenary session.
The first motion on Aba-Portharcourt and Aba-Ikot Ekpene road was moved by Hon. Ossy Prestige, representing Aba North and Aba South Federal Constituency of Abia State, while the second one was moved by Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai of Ndokwa/Ukwuani Federal Constituency of Delta State.
Leading the debate on the “Need to Rehabilitate the Failed Portions of Aba-Port Harcourt Road and Aba-Ikot Ekpene Road”, Hon Prestige noted that Aba-Port Harcourt expressway and Aba–Ikot-Ekpene road have been in state of disrepair for over ten years.
He said that Aba-Port Harcourt road was strategic because of the high rate of commerce between Abia and Rivers States, noting same for Aba-Ikot Ekpene road, saying it links Akwa Ibom and Cross River States and extends to the neighbouring Central African Country of Cameroon.
He informed the House that contract for rehabilitation of the 41 kilometers Aba-Port Harcourt road was awarded to China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) with a completion date of January 2020, while the 11.26 kilometers Aba-Ikot Ekpene road project was awarded to Arab Contractors in 2009 with a completion period of 20 months.
He also stated that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved N6.17b for augmentation of the contract for construction of Ikot Ekpene boundary Aba-Owerri road, saying the augmentation being to take care of dualization of the road from its original one lane status, with a 12 months completion period.
He said: “The House is aware that the approval, which was sequel to a memorandum presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) by the then Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing on May 2, 2019 covered the rehabilitation of Umuahia (Ikwuano)- Ikot Ekpene road, yet the road is still in a pitiable state;
“Concerned that the deplorable state of Aba-Port Harcourt and Aba-Ikot Ekpene roads create a haven for armed robbers and kidnappers to attack unsuspecting road users, coupled with the attendant economic setbacks that the current state of the roads bring to commuters and people of the area;
“Worried that with few days to the contract deadline, no appreciable progress has been made to alleviate the sufferings of travelers, even as we approach the yuletide season”.
Adopting the motion, the House mandated its Committee on Works to interface with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing with a view to drawing up a work plan for rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads in the South East and South-South zones of the country, especially the Aba stretch of Enugu-Port-Harcourt highway and Aba-Ikot Ekpene road.
Similarly in his own motion titled “Need to Rehabilitate Obiaruku-Utagba-Uno-Ugili-Amai-Iselegu Road”, Ossai noted that NDDC was established to implement projects, such as road construction and programmes for the sustainable development of the Niger-Delta Area.
He also stated that Ndokwa area was an oil and gas producing area but Obiaruku-Utagba-Uno-Ugili-Amai and Iselegu road in Ndokwa was presently in deplorable state with so many failed sections that were making life very unbearable for the residents and road users.
He submitted that the road “is a major feeder road to Warri-Benin-Onitsha express road through which commuters and goods are conveyed to the South-Eastern Nigeria and also to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”
He expressed worry that the failed sections of the road have become haven for hoodlums, kidnappers and armed robbers, who are leaving tales of woes on road users with so many people losing their precious lives and properties.
“It is on record that Ndokwa land is the only oil producing area in Nigeria that does not engage in militancy and destruction of oil facilities as a way of expressing their frustration and marginalization in the oil exploration process in Nigeria”, he said.
Adopting the motion, the House mandated its Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission to ensure implementation of the resolution.