By Dennis Agbo

A cross section of road us-ers on Enugu-Port Harcourt, Enugu-Onitsha and 9th  Mile- Makurdi highways have disclosed that the South- East roads are still in use because the Federal Government intervened to uplift the ugly situation on the roads during last year’s Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Those interviewed by South- East Voice said that apart from patching of the roads during the period, the newly constructed lanes were equally opened for use during the season, noting that the initiative helped in decongesting traffic on the roads and reduced road crashes.

*Sections of Enugu-Onitsha road under reconstruction

They, however, pleaded with the Federal Ministry of Works to expedite action on the ongoing reconstruction of the roads so they could be concluded before the tenure of the present administration elapses on May 29.

Chairman of Etiti-Ozalla Neighborhood Security Watch and member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, at Four-Corners, along Enugu-Onitsha expressway, Mr. Oguejiofor Ani said: “I am very grateful to the Federal Government for patching the roads because it made travelling easy this Christmas period, but I am also expecting that the road will be fully reconstructed because the road is old.”

A commercial driver with one of the Mass Transit companies plying Enugu-Port Harcourt, Mr. Awgu Nwankwo said that even though they were plying one lane as the second lane is under construction, they were happy that in no distant time the dual carriage road would be open for use.

He said: “The only thing is that drivers should be careful because we are taking one way. The one way road is okay because they are patching it, the road is better now than before and the Federal Government should continue with the work they are doing.”

Project Manager of CGC Nigeria Limited, handling a section of the Enugu-Port Harcourt road, Mr. Thompson Youg said they were engaged by the Ministry of Works for maintenance of the road for Christmas, noting also that they were speeding up work at the reconstruction site.

*Sections of Enugu-Onitsha road under reconstruction

Youg said: “Since we got the directive by our employer, the Ministry of Works, we’ve already done a lot of work because we mobilised our workers, equipment and materials to repair all these potholes during the Christmas. As you can see, the drivers and all the people can move freely on the road and we pledged to deliver more for this country.”

At Enugu-Onitsha road, the 15 kilometers Abakpa junction to 9th  Mile section which was almost cut-off before Christmas, the gullies   at Ekulu River bridge and at Ugwu Onyeama were filled up and the potholes also filled up for easier movement while awaiting the commencement of reconstruction of the most deplorable section.

Federal Controller of Works in Enugu State, Mr. Femi Oyekanmi said they closed the asphalted section of Km 40 Enugu-Onitsha road because they want to make it better. “We have done the first layer of asphalt on the road and we opened it to traffic against technical procedure so that we can alleviate the sufferings of the masses during the Christmas period and we had to close it back. As soon as we finish the second layer of asphalt, we’ll open it and full construction of the other lane will commence immediately. In about three months’ time, we will open the lane from Ontisha to Enugu, presently under reconstruction, to traffic.

“The minister gave us a marching order that during the yuletide, every section of the road in this country should be made motorable because of the congestion we usually experience during the period and we enforced the mandate and the perennial problem we used to see at 9th Mile junction was avoided completely because the contractors obeyed us and went out patching all the roads.

“The contractors went further to Kilometre 40-55 section of Enugu-Onisha road, otherwise called Ugwu Onyeama to 82 Division which was the most deplorable section that people stayed two- three days during the yuletide but RCC went on to make it motorable and within the next three-four months, you will see the massive construction on the ground,” said Oyekanmi.

Chairman of Ekochin Taxi Unit at 9th Mile, Mr. Obinna Ugwu confirmed that there was free flow of traffic at 9th  Mile during the season because the lane under construction was opened. He said “there was not much congestion at 9th Mile. They are still working and much has been done. Onyeama Mine is not yet completed but something has been done substantially.”

At the 9th Mile-Makurdi road, a trailer driver, Nasiru Sabo Imam stated that the story of the road changed during the Christmas period.

Imam said: “The potholes have been filled because in the past, we were not able to pass through this place. Sometimes we used to stay three days because of the bad road, some trailers used to fall  but now, we are passing successfully. We thank the Federal Government and ask them to do more.”

Enugu State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr. Ogbonnaya Kalu said: “We used to seep at 9th Mile during Christmas but during this 2018 celebration, we closed earlier than we used to. We enjoyed the good relationship with the Federal Ministry of Works, especially at the beginning of the ’ember’ months and we had good collaboration to ensure safety of road users.”

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