Indigenes of the twin agrarian communities of Onicha-Ugbo and Idumuje-Ugboko, Aniocha North Local Government A have poured encomiums on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) following commencement of remedial work on a major highway linking South Eastern Nigeria and the Northern parts of the country.
This stretch of the highway, which traverses both communities, was the only motorable highway linking many eastern states with the north following the deplorable conditions of the alternative routes such as the Ellah/Ebu roads and the Agbor/Uromi roads.
The poor state of the road has taken its toll on economic activities with many residents unable to bring produce from their farms.
Aside, the failed portions have served as a veritable ground for marauding armed robbers, especially at nights.
The combined effects of many years of neglect, poorly constructed road and an increase in vehicular traffic has ensured that the road remained un-passable, especially during the rainy season.
But respite has come the way of indigenes of both communities as work has commenced on the over 30 kilometers stretch of road.
A youth leader, Osagie Igbinehi who spoke with The Nation praised the federal interventionist agency for coming to their aid, but warned that vehicles have been over-speeding since the remedial work commenced/
His words, “The speed on this road is too much and it is not good for us residents like here now students are crossing this road, it is good that they should be speed breakers. There is a school here; we need a speed breaker at least five or six down. The community will not be involved in putting speed breakers, we want ULO Consultants and NDDC do it for us. The road was very bad; it was not what you can take a look at. We really thank NDDC and ULO the way they have done, they tried. If you were here last four months, I don’t think you can even cross this place, it was abandoned for good five months, no vehicle was passing, the community was crying, nothing was happening at this place until they came to our rescue. We thank whosoever that led them to us. We were cut off from so many things but now we thank God. From here you link Edo State; you can link Kogi, Abuja and other northern states. This is the short way to the nation’s capital from the east”.
Another resident, Godwin Osemeke, was full of praises for NDDC, adding that he and others in the community have had to abandon their farms.
Osemeke who claims to be a trailer driver attributed the poor state of the road to overloaded articulated truck which ply the road and urged government to regulate the usage of the road by heavy duty trucks.
He said, “For some time, it has been very bad on this road but I think the contractor ULO consultants has been doing a very good job. I commend the NDDC and the contractor. Oh my God, I am a real farmer; I had to abandon my farm for three months, because I had no access to my farm land. It was the same with many people; even motorcycles could not ply it. The gully was more than 20 feet deep. You can’t access it even on foot, but now the story is completely different. My worry now is Dangote trucks, they usually exceed their carrying capacity, I am a trailer driver, a trailer is supposed to carry not more than 30 tonnes. By the time you carry 60 tonnes times maybe 50 trucks ply the road every day, you can imagine the impact on the road. Government should try to address the issue. Although there were no incidents of armed robbery attacks within our community, but we heard that robberies were rife down the road, at Idumuje- Ugboko down to Ewohimi in Edo State.”
Ex- Federal lawmaker, Ned Nwoko who hails from the Idumuje-Ugboko community expressed happiness at the ongoing rehabilitation work while commending the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu for hearkening to the cries of the common folks in both communities and influencing the remedial work.
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