By: Joy Odor/Abuja
Worried by the deplorable conditions of Ikot-Ekpene-Umuahia and Aba-Ikot-Ekepene Highways linking Akwa-Ibom and Abia States, the Senate yesterday resolved to investigate the delay in the construction of the road, which was awarded to NIGERCAT Construction Company since 2008.
Similarly, it directed the Federal Ministry of Works to commence construction of the Aba-lkot Ekpene road as a lasting solution, and possibly make it a dual carriage road, as well as mandating the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA to expedite actions on intervention measures to salvage the road from total collapse.
The upper legislative chamber further urged security agencies, especially the Police to deploy their personnel to grey spots, “where hoodlums have found solace and made it their habitable abode mostly at odd hours”.
These resolutions were sequel to a motion by Senator Stephen Ekpenyong (PDP Akwa-Ibom North West) and 34 others during plenary.
Senator Ekpenyong, while presenting the motion, said that “the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene road was first constructed in the early 60s shortly after Nigeria’s Independence, and since then subsequent governments have not done significant developments on the road in terms of expansion and even routine maintenance”.
According to him, the two states have tried within their limited resources to keep the road motorable by carrying out temporal maintenance work which to a large extent does not stand the test of time.
He informed that they are major roads connecting the South West, North Central, South East and the South South States of Edo and Delta to Akwa-Ibom and Cross River States, in the Northern flank.
Senator Ekpenyong said that the situation of the roads are worst during raining seasons, especially the Umuahia-lkot Ekpene road.
“As a matter of fact, the road presently is not passable. Most of the broken portions have become rivers and water logs. It’s now a safe haven for hoodlums as they have taken advantage of these bad sections to operate freely especially at nights”, he lamented.
He informed that as an alternative, passengers and travelers on that road now ply an interior road through Umuahia-Ikwarazu Road, in Obot Akara Local Government Area to get to Ikot Ekpene, then continue their journey.
Senator Ekpenyong regretted that the contract for the reconstruction of Aba-lkot Ekpene road was awarded by the Federal Ministry of Works to Nigercat Construction Company since 2008 and had since then been abandoned.
President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks, urged the Federal Ministry of Works and FERMA to expedite action on the roads, assuring that the National Assembly would use its powers to ensure that no section of the country lacks good roads.