By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”SPEAKER of the Edo state House of Assembly, Mr Zakawanu Garuba, yesterday called on the Federal Government to urgently dualize the Benin-Auchi highway because of the frequent cases of accidents along the road.
The Speaker lost two of his aides and a younger brother in a ghastly motor accident on the road last week.
He faulted the decision to stop the dualization of the road, which had been awarded to a contractor in Kogi state, saying the state of the road in the Edo state axis was even worse than Kogi state.
Zakawanu, who spoke when the executive members of the Correspondent Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo state, led by its chairman, Mr Adewumi Faniran, paid him a condolence visit, said it was the responsibility of government to provide infrastructure for its citizens.
He wondered why the Federal Government had been reluctant to commence the dualization of the road, irrespective of the fact that it led to the oil rich Niger Delta.
His words: â€œThe press have a very big role to play in ensuring that the Benin-Auchi road is dualized. Not too long ago, the Chairman of the PDP in the state, Chief Ekhabafe, died on that road and even before he died people have been dying on that same road and yet nothing is being done by the federal government to dualize the road.
It is the responsibility of the federal government to do that and not the state.
â€œI understood that they will stop the dualization in Kogi state, that is quite unreasonable. If you say you want to develop the Niger Delta, why stop the dualization in Kogi and leave out the states in the Niger Delta, like Edo, where people have been dying almost on daily basis on that road.
â€œThat shows that the federal government is not serious about developing the region. We must make every effort to ensure that the carnage on that road stops.â€
The speaker expressed gratitude for the visit and said â€œ in a situation like this you cannot question God. So I leave all to Godâ€.
Speaking earlier, Mr Faniran, who expressed shocked on behalf of the correspondents, urged the speaker and his family to take heart and prayed God to grant them the fortitude to bear the loss.