By Chris Ochayi
The Eze Aro of Arochukwu, in Abia State, Mazi Vincent Ogbonnaya Okoro has appealed to the Federal Government to intervene and rehabilitate some major federal highways which are in deplorable conditions in Abia State.
Mazi Okoro made the appeal when he led a delegation to the Managing Director, Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA, in Abuja. He lamented that one of the greatest problems of Arochukwu kingdom is the non-presence of good road infrastructure.
The monarch who gave the names of the roads as, Ohafia-Arochukwu-Ikpe road with Atani Spur, Arochukwu-Itu road and Arochukwu-Ikot Okpora road, regretted that none of them has been reconstructed since the end of the civil war, a period of over forty years.
He said, “Arochukwu being a confluence town and lying between Abia, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States has a good network of roads leading to it, but unfortunately, all the roads are in a most deplorable state of disrepair.
The traditional ruler who spoke through the Eze Ibom Isii of the Kingdom, Dr. Kanu Nwakanu Okereke, however, thanked FERMA management for bringing back to life the Police Barrack Road, following a good maintenance job carried out by the agency.
He said the community has not had it so good before now but that they can at least, boast of a good road in their community even though there are still several ones yet to be done .
Noting that work on the Police Barrack Road is yet to be completed, the traditional ruler urged the agency to complete the project without further delay to bring succor to the people of the area.
FERMA’s Managaging Director, Engr. Kabir Abdullahi said the agency is ever committed to see that all the nation’s roads are adequately maintained from time to time but regretted that dearth of funds is hampering its operations.
‘’FERMA is facing serious problems of funding more so that a lot of the Federal roads are in dire need of maintenance. It is not easy to maintain about 35,000 kilometres or roads throughout the country’,” he said adding that t that what people fail to know is that FERMA’s mandate is not that of road construction or rehabilitation, “it is purely that of road maintenance and we can only maintain what is on ground’’
He made a case for adequate funding of the organisation. ‘’FERMA is supposed to be enjoying some other sources of funding like the five percent user charges on petroleum passed by the National Assembly but yet to be implemented. “We also supposed to enjoy what we call International Vehicle Charge fees, I must tell you clearly that it is only Nigeria that is not collecting this charges within the African region here,” he claimed.