•As Gov Obaseki awards N5.4bn contracts to rebuild ramshackle 25-km roads

By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu

BENIN CITY – INHABITANTS of over 15 communities on the outskirts of Benin City, Edo State, who have been downcast for years, are in a bubbly mood, following the award of N5.45 billion contracts by Governor Godwin Obaseki for the reconstruction of a total of 25-kilometre roads linking their areas, abandoned for nearly 30 years by government.

The roads are Saint Saviour (4.4kilometer); Oba community-Obazagbon community-Obadoloivbiyeyi community to Idogbo/Agbor Road Bypass (10.92 kilometer), both valued at N3.55bn; and the popular PZ -Ehioghae-Okabere-Oka Market Road, linking Sapele Road and Upper Sokponba Road (10.78 Kilometres), valued at N1.9bn.

I had untimely delivery

because of bad road—Magdalene

A middle aged woman, who simply gave her name as Magdalene, told NDV that she had premature delivery because of the state of the road. Doctors were shocked when I went into labour in the eighth month of my pregnancy because of the rigorous shaking of my body due to the bad state of the road.

“Several persons, who had reason to rent apartments in the area, abandoned their apartments while some house owners left to become tenants in safer places. Many small businesses had to grapple for survival with continuous hope that one day, government would remember them,” she disclosed.

So many unfulfilled

promises in the past —Mrs Osas, trader

A petty trader, Blessing Osas, said she had been sourcing for funds outside her business to pay her yearly rent with the hope that government would one day bring succour to them, adding: “Most times I look for money elsewhere to pay because they have been promising they would fix the road to no avail. I do not pay my rent from my profit; rather I look for money elsewhere to pay.”

Why we‘re reconstructing roads —Obaseki

The state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki said the reconstruction was in continuation of the Edo State Government’s aggressive drive towards the development of new towns and opening up of the suburbs. He said the over 25-kilometer roads would cost his administration N5.45 billion and should be completed within the next two years.

According to Obaseki: “When completed the roads would not only ease human and vehicle movement in the metropolis, but decongest Upper Sokponba and Sapele roads, and provide alternative route to residents who want to connect the Bypass.

•Another stretch of the road

The roads would also enhance access to the Emotan Gardens Estate, an ambitious 1,800-unit residential estate supported by the state government. The project follows closely behind the award of contract for the construction of the Ugbor-Amagba Road.

We’ve suffered so much —Mrs. Igben, property owner

A property-owner in the area, Mrs Mercelina Igben said she had been waiting for over 30 years to hear the good news. “We have been suffering for so many years I do not come out because of the rain; last Sunday, I could not go to church because of the rain. I have been staying here for over 30 years and the road was motorable before.”

Told that government has awarded the road contract, she said: “We have been hearing that for a long time but if it is true now, we will be happy about it. We have been praying that God should touch their hearts to come and help us.”

Many people fled the area —Idemudia, medicine dealer

A chemist shop operator, Victor Idemudia, said: “I have been staying here for over 10 years. The state of the road has affected us seriously even in terms of our business. People with houses here have left here to go and stay in other areas because of the bad situation of this road and we that are staying here, spend a lot of money to go out, transport is very expensive.

“We are appealing to the government to help us, it is really telling on us. It is affecting my business because customers hardly come out when it rains. It has been like this since I came here, but with this new development, we are very happy.

“Personally, I will be the happiest man, he (Obseki) will be my best governor if he is able to do it and provided the work will be solid because we have burrow pits here, so it must be very solid to accommodate heavy vehicles that come here,” he asserted.

Amadin blames tipper drivers

A commercial bus driver that plies the road, Ogben Amadin, said: “I have been driving here for 15 years now, by then, the road was okay and tippers were not driving through here, it was when tippers started passing through here that the road became bad with the stress of heavy weight.”

His words: “We have heard several times in the past that they have awarded the road. If Obaseki does this road for us, he should not bother to come here for campaign for his re-election, we are the ones that will campaign for him for his second term.”


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