Illah (Delta) – Some residents of Ugbolu and Illah communities in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta have decried the deplorable condition of the Asaba-Ugbolu-Illah federal road, calling for its repair.
A cross-section of the residents, who spoke on Friday in the two communities, described the road as a death trap.
According to them, there is need for urgent government intervention to alleviate the suffering of the road users and save them from robbery attacks by bandits who waylay them at the bad spots.
A farmer, Mr John Anosike, said due to the bad state of the road, farmers in Illah were often attacked by armed robbers on the bad spots while taking their produce to Asaba for sale.
According to him, the stretch between Ugbolu and Illah has so many farm settlements, including the Benin-Owena River Basin authority in Ngegu, Illah.
Anosike said that transport fare along the road had increased as a result of the bad state of the federal road.
He said: “when the road was fairly good, we paid just N100 fare from Illah to Asaba, a journey that lasted for about 15 minutes.
But, now drivers plying the route charge N300 and even more.
“We, the farmers, are at the receiving end. We pay so much to transport our produce from the farm to the market and at the end we sell most of them at very low prices.
“Sometimes, because of the deplorable condition of the road, we are attacked by armed bandits, particularly at the very bad spots.
“We are helpless and are appealing to the Federal and the Delta Governments to help us and repair the road because is getting worse daily.”
A bus driver, Mr Tony Onyemah who plies the route said that he was very conscious of the time he put his vehicle on road to avoid being trapped or falling into danger.
“I don’t take that route anytime there is rainfall because my bus will sink into the deep gullies. So, I must be sure that the road is dry before taking it.
“Although I know that there are usually lots of passengers on the route on market days, I exercise caution.
“Transporters going to Illah and Ebu would prefer to go through the Asaba-Benin expressway via Otulu Junction by Akwukwu-Igbo to Illah a journey of about one hour.
The cost of using the Asaba-Ugbolu-Illah road is high and increasing daily,” he said.
Onyemah appealed to the state government to alleviate the suffering of the people by doing some palliative repairs on the road.
Mr Kenneth Eziashi, a civil servant called on the state government to immediately do something on the road to save the communities from being cutoff form Asaba, the state capital.
He expressed worries that with the “clock-in-clock-out” policy of the present administration in the state, civil servants living in the communities would find it extremely difficult to work in Asaba.
“We are calling on both the federal government and the state government to intervene to save the road from total collapse and to give the people a sense of belonging,” Eziashi appealed.
NAN recalls that the Delta Commissioner for Works, Chief James Augoye, said recently that the state government had repaired some federal roads in the state.
He, however, said that the Asaba-Ugbolu-Illah road had yet to be attended to due to financial constraint.
“We have spent over N200 million to intervene in Sapele-Benin road alone and in 2016 we maintained the Agbor-Abraka road.
“They are all federal roads and we have not received any refund,” he said.