FRANK ENEAWAJI OGWUNONU
The East West Road, linking the Niger Delta States has been in the news for too long a time. This is because no Federal Government was unable to conclude the road for over twenty two years now.
The 10th Assembly adhoc Senate Committee investigating the non-completion of the East-West Road, led by Senator Abdul Ningi visited Delta state, Akwa state, Bayelsa, and Rivers state to inspect the road, raising concerns over expenditure on the project among other issues.
The Rivers state Governor, sir Siminalayi Fubara, has challenged the National Assembly to ensure that the bad section of the East-West Road in Eleme axis of the state is fixed.
The governor presented the challenge when he played host to the adhoc committee on the East-West Road on the non-completion of the East-West Road and the Eleme-Ogoni corridor, at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
The committee members were in Port Harcourt to inspect the federal road. Indeed, the governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, stated that the visit by the committee showed the seriousness of the 10th Senate towards the completion of the federal road projects, but asked that the exercise should not end with a public hearing.
Meanwhile, Governor Fubara frowned on the long neglect of the Eleme-Ogoni axis of the road, despite access to the critical economic infrastructure of the federal government.
According to channel.com, Sir Siminalayi Fubara Govenror of Rivers State, said so far, 10 local government areas were directly affected by the bad state of the stretch of the road.
The Chairman of the adhoc committee, Senate Abdul Ningi, told the Rivers state governor that the senate was mindful of the huge contribution of Niger Delta to the national economy.
The committee was set up in July following a motion by Senator Barinada Mpigi from River South East Senatorial District and others on the state of the East-West Road in the Niger-Delta with a special focus on the Eleme-Ogoni axis in Rivers state. It is no longer news that the East West Road Eleme axis a death-trap to road users.
This is because so many people have lost their lives on that road. Containers loaded with goods always fall on that road making business men and women to incur loss every day. It is a sad experience for those who use the road. A situation where the road has remained in a deplorable state for over one and a half decades is worrisome and despicable.
The guardains.ng revealed that Governor Siminalayi Fubara is uncomfortable with the situation of the road, that leads to Onne Oil and Gas free Zone, Port Harcourt Refinery, Indorama deteriorated during the rainy season.
Thus, it was learnt, that after remedial work was done on it last year, following the protest by Ogoni youths, when the road was barricaded for seven days. Addressing committee members, Governor Fubara wondered why despite years of deductions from the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) by the Federal Government to fund critical national projects, the road was never captured and funded, especially when it led to locations where essential national economic assets were located.
The Governor who expressed worry and doubt, said that the most deplorable sections are not even more than 20 kilometers from Eleme Junction to interchange Bridge into Ogoni land for the Federal Government to handle .
The Governor who took the committee members to the failed section, said that “We have always complained about the dilapidated state of the East-West especially the Eleme junction to Onne and of the road but nothing has happened. It is a Federal road, but is my people that are suffering, so I want to appeal to you that it should not just be a public hearing or a question of how much was paid and not paid. You should move far from talking to making actual commitment, he said. Indeed, the road is an eye sore to the Nigerian state.
A situation where the East-West Road of Eleme axis, has been turned to what Nigerians call “Blame Game” is rather very unfortunate. Governor Siminalayi Fubara has said this should not be another assessment tour of federal Government road, without prompt and swift implementation of fixing the East-West Road of the Eleme axis.
The road is so important and strategic for any sincere government of a country to ignore or over look. The deplorable state of the road has stalled and grounded businesses in Nigeria. The adhoc senate committee on Eat-West should not go to Abuja and dump their findings rather they should disturb the Federal Government to put the road in a good shape for the people to use.
The Eleme axis of the East-West road has suffered neglect from so many previous administrations in Nigeria. Therefore, let this present Government do the needful and rehabilitate the road.