Government of Abia State has said it will move in to start palliative work on the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene federal road in Umuahia, the state capital.

The government stated this today through its commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu.

Okiyi said Governor Okezie Ikpeazu had last week mandated the State’s Commissioner for Works, Elder Bob Ogu to assess the level of palliative work needed to be done on the road and that on reporting back to the governor later, an indigenous construction company was immediately mandated to commence work there on Wednesday, 6th October, 2021 to ameliorate the sufferings of commuters who ply the road daily.

However, students of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU), earlier Monday took to the streets of Umuahia to protest the death of one of their mates who was killed yesterday by an articulated truck that fell at one of the bad portions of the road and killed the student in question. Okiyi said Governor Ikpeazu while commiserating with the students over the unfortunate incident, promised to fix the bad portions of the federal road for the sake of the people.

The full statement reads:

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“Early last week, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu invited the State’s Commisioner for Works, Elder Bob Ogu, to a meeting in his office and directed him to mobilize a contractor to immediately execute palliative repairs of failed portions of Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene Road, Umuahia, after receiving reports on the terrible state of the federal road leading to the prestigious Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU), and the attendant hardship experienced by commuters who use the road that also links our state to some neighboring states.

“After assessing the work to be done there, the Honorable Commissioner reverted to the Governor last Friday and informed him that they would have to get written permission from the Federal Ministry of Works before commencing work as the said road has already been awarded by the federal government and handed over to the contractors who are claiming that adequate funds have not yer been provided for commencement of the work.

“At that point, the Governor was really furious and asked: ‘is there a deliberate plan to totally destroy trade and commerce in this state and punish our people?’ He recalled that the federal government also awarded Aba-Ikot Ekpene Highway since 2017 and could not do any effective work on it for so long up to this year to the extent that the state government had to commence reconstruction of the road from Opobo Junction, Aba, area using rigid pavement (cement) technology.

“Aside from Aba-Ikot Ekpene and Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene Federal Highways that are in terrible conditions, other federal roads leading to our major commercial and agricultural hubs such as Abe-Port Harcourt Segment of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Highway, Umuahia-Uzuakoli-Ohafia Road, Arochukwu-Ohafia-Bende Road etc, are death traps that cannot, by any standard, be described as roads.

“The most painful part is that these are the major roads leading to our centres of trade, commerce and agricuiture, the mainstay of our people. Indeed, visitors to our state form opinions about the state based on the poor state of these federal roads and until they are fixed it will remain difficult to appreciate the work the Ikpeazu-led administration has done to renew our infrastructure since 2015.”