The member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia North/South Federal Constituency, Rep Sam Onuigbo, broke the cheering news to his constituents within whose area the road falls during a stakeholders meeting he held recently.
Speaking at the meeting which took place at the MOUAU Women Association Event Centre, the member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia, Rep Sam Onuigbo, commended the Federal government for acting on the demand made in 2016.
He said the stakeholders meeting was on the instance of the Honourable Minister for Works and Housing, Hon Babatunde Fashola, who on the 24th of November 2021, wrote a letter for him to go home and address his constituents. “Part of that instruction is what we have done today”.
Fielding questions from the Press, Rep Onuigbo said the meeting was basically to bring his constituents up to speed, as regards what is being done on the Umuahia-Ikwuano-Ikot Ekpene road.
“We have been on this road since 2016. I moved the first motion of this road in May 2016 and met with the Minister of Works and Housing, on the 14th of June 2016. The Minister did a letter on the 15th, committing for a palliative work be done on the road because the road was impassable, particularly the Ndoro and Okwe axis of the road”.
The Lawmaker revealed that he persistently made requests towards a palliative and a total reconstruction of the road, adding that in line with the request, the Federal government did a palliative work and it took a while before the full reconstruction was awarded.
“The road was awarded in 2019 but due to paucity of funds, contractors were not mobilized to site. We didn’t relent in mounting pressure on the Minister of Works and overtime, he listened to our requests and appeals. The reconstruction of the road was moved to be funded under the NNPC Tax Credit Scheme on routes.
“That is why we have come to appeal to people to remove items, structures from the right of way, so as to enable the contractor’s unimpeded access to the areas for reconstruction so that the job can be done and completed in a timely fashion.
Rep Onuigbo further revealed that the Federal government has transferred the money for the project to the Federal Ministry of Works, adding that the contractors are set to commence work.
Rep. Sam Onuigbo, however, said that he made a promise to serve his constituents on the acronyms of EAR, which is Effectiveness, Accessibility, and Responsiveness, being able to respond to the concern of his constituents according to resources and contact available, adding that he vowed to redefine representation.
Responding further, the federal Lawmaker maintained that he has attracted several other projects to his constituency, ranging from erosion control in Amachara and Okwe, building of hospitals in Oloko and Ibere in Ikwuano LGA, distribution of transformers, building of classroom blocks across the constituency, and as well as carried out empowerment programmes.
He further noted that he is not in any competition with any politician, as regards who facilitated the reconstruction of the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene road, saying that what is most important to him, is for the road to be reconstructed to aid free movement of everyone.
Speaking during the event, the Chairman on the occasion, the Chief Medical Director, Federal Medical Center, Dr. Onyebuchi Azubuike, called on the contractors to be timely and work according to specification. He said they should give Abians quality roads, so as to boost the economy of the state, which would also help in reducing crime among other benefits.
The Liaison Officer to Rep.Onuigbo and the Community Liaison Officer, Evang Abraham Osondu, stated the bottlenecks on the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene road, expressing optimism that the meeting with the stakeholders would help in addressing them, urging the participants to be free in airing their opinions.
In his contribution, the Abia State Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Commander Paul Ikechukwu, noted the benefits that accrued the state if the road is constructed, appealing that the Contractors should construct speed breakers to control the level of speed by motorists.
The Director of Transport, MOUAU SUG, Comr Bennard Chisom, appealed that the road be constructed on time so that students can ply the road safely.
Earlier in their separate speeches, the Public Relations Executive of Hartland/Raymond Construction Company, the contractor handling the project, Mrs Grace Gbagi, and a representative from the Federal Ministry of Works, Engr Michael Ituyobe, decried the rate people throw caution to the wind when building structures on the right of way.
Mrs Gbagi informed the participants on the right of way, stating that anyone that has landed properties or structures on the right of way, should not expect any compensation from the Federal government, adding that the government would only compensate those whose buildings or properties are not on the right of way.
She added that already an individual has dragged her company to court over the case of demolition, even when they have not done any, appealing that people should vacate the right of way so that work can commence.
Engr Michael Ituyobe, disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Works gave 45.72m from the centre of the road as the right of way, but stated that the contractors will not go into details with the 45.7m, but appealed that a space be created, at least 2.7m from the gutters and as well, space for the drainages so that work can commence.
He revealed that work would commence on the road this month, saying that over 49km of the road would be reconstructed, from FMC Umuahia and terminates at Ikot-Ekpene in Akwa Ibom State.