From ROSE EJEMBI, Makurdi
For many people, the coming of the rains is generally regarded as a time of blessing and a thing of joy to humans, especially to farmers, as the rainy season announces the commencement of farming activities. But in Adeke, the community housing the Mobile Police Barracks in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, the rainy season is no longer a blessing.
The only road linking the community to the other parts of the metropolis has collapsed. Last year, while the rains lasted, the road commonly known by Makurdi residents as Mobile Barracks road failed completely, such that residents of the area had to either park their cars in far places or looked for alternative routes through the bushes.
Commercial motorcyclists, popularly called okada riders, also refused to ply the Mobile Barracks road, or they charged exorbitant fares.
Social miscreants, known as area boys, equally cashed in on the situation and started exploiting car owners, commercial motorcyclists and other commuters on the grounds that they were repairing bad portions of the road.
As the rains set in this year, members of the community have appealed to the state government to come to their aid and repair the road so that they would not go through what they went through last year. Mr. Johnson Bua who owns a house in Adeke told our correspondent that during the rains last year, his Honda car got damaged several times on the road.
“The road situation is so terrible last year that, at a point, we started praying that the rains should not come again. Each time it rained, you just discovered that large portions of the road would just cave in. In fact, at a point nobody was passing this road again because there was no way you could even say you would manage it.” He urged the state government to construct drainages on both sides of the road and also grade the road so that the residents could use the road during this year’s rains.
“We are not even saying that the government should give us a tarred road, but at least, let the government make good drainages on both sides of the road, fill the road with laterite and then grade it for us. That is all we ask.” Another resident, Ode Agada who had lived in the area for close to 10 years now, said the former governor of the state, Senator George Akume actually awarded the contract twice but lamented that the contractors, after collecting mobilization fees, only packed some heaps of laterite, dumped them on the road and then abandoned the project. Indeed, the reporter observed that if nothing is done on the road before the rains set in this year, houses close to the road are under threat of collapsing.
Last year, the rains washed away part of the drainages, leaving large gullies close to the affected buildings. Mrs. Bola Agbanu, another resident of the area regretted that the state government had neglected the area in terms of provision of basic necessities such as water, electricity and road.
He stressed that while it was possible for an individual to provide water and generate his own electricity, it was difficult for anybody to single-handedly build a road. “As it is now, we haven’t had light in this area for over six months. We were using the Mopol Barracks transformer before it finally blew off last year.
Since then, we have all been in darkness. However, our priority now is the road. “Yes, an individual can provide his own water by digging a well and can also generate his own electricity by using generators but it is not that easy for that individual to construct his own road.
That is why we are appealing to the state governor to come to our aid.” Mr. Chukwudi Okoro, who runs a chemist at the Mammy Market area of Adeke, said he spent over N100, 000 to repair his car last year, after the vehicle became faulty due to the effect of the bad road.
He called on the state government to help construct the road, stressing that if nothing was done before the coming of the rains this year, the community faced the risk of being completely cut off from other parts of the metropolis.