The member representing Arochukwu /Ohafia federal constituency of Abia state, Hon. Uko Nkole, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, for remobilizing contractors to the Abiriba-Arochukwu-Ohafia road project.
“We in Arochukwu – Ohafia Federal Constituency received this bold decision of the Hon. Minister with great relief,” Nkole said in a press statement.
According to the lawmaker, the Abiriba – Arochukwu – Ohafia road, could be described amongst the worst road in the country, stressing that communities in the constituency; Arochukwu, Ohafia, Ihechiowa, Ututu and parts of Abam, have been cut-off from the rest of the country because of the deplorable condition of this particular road.
Hon. Nkole described the directive on the road project as a historic and commendable decision, while he appealed to the minister to direct the contractor, Beks Kimse Nigeria Ltd, to return to site immediately and resume work without further delay.
He urged the minister to ensure that the road is adequately provided for in the 2017 budget to ensure that work does not stop until the road is concluded.
Detailing the history of the road, Nkole said: “The poor state of the road has made it impossible for transportation of farm produce which is in abundance in commercial quantity in Aro, Ihechiowa, Ututu, Ohafia, Abia State and the neighbouring communities in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States. I do not want to speak of other negative economic consequences which we are currently passing through.
“In November 2012, our joy knew no bounds when the road was awarded to one indigenous company, BEKS KIMSE Nigeria Ltd at the cost of N2.2 billion. The project was expected to be completed within a period of 24 months from the date the contract was signed. Arochukwu, Ihechiowa, Ututu, Isu, Abam, Ohafia and our neighbours in Akwa Ibom and Cross River went into jubilation believing that a Daniel had finally come to judgment. We thought that our pains, frustration and anguish on the road were over. But after over two years only 14% of work was done.
“Immediately after the 2015 General Election, work on the road was abandoned while the contractor fled the project site. We were told that the problem was poor funding and poor performance of the indigenous contractor handling the project.
“We have tolerated and supported the contractor because a bad contractor is better than no contractor at all. For over two years now, Abiriba –Arochukwu –Ohafia Road has remained a sad commentary to our national conscience as a nation.”
The 27 kilometer road from Abiriba, Ohafia to Arochukwu has been neglected for over 40 years.
Work on the road was awarded under the Petroleum Trust Fund under Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership but was abandoned following the dissolution of the PTF by the Sani Abacha regime.