By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja
The Federal Government has been urged to expedite action on the completion of maintenance work on Orlu-Ihiala road to ensure that the project which has reached an appreciable level is not lost to the rains.
The traditional ruler of Isseke ancient Kingdom in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, His Royal Majesty, Igwe Emmanuel Nnabuife made the appeal on Thursday.
The natural ruler commended the federal government for its focus on the infrastructural development of the country.
According to him, the Orlu- Ihiala road which is the major link to the hinterland areas of Anambra and Imo States, also takes the burden off the ever-busy Onitsha-Owerri Road.
He also appealed to the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA, and the contractor handling the project to ensure its early completion and avoid losing the gains already made to heavy flooding.
Speaking to reporters during the site inspection of the road project, the representative of Messers Jeff & Xris Limited, the contracting firm, Engr. Alloy Ezeabasili said the company was billed to hand over the project by April 30 2021 but for the shortage of funds.
“As you can see, the earthwork and the pavements are almost complete. It remains the culvert and drainage works. If funds had been available, this project would have been completed by the end of April 2021,” he said.
He revealed that FERMA has only released the sum of about N30million out of the total contract sum of N215, 153.363.22 since awarding the project and regretted that the situation has greatly slowed down the progress of work.
Ezeabasili further noted that the company has already injected personal funds to the tune of over N50million in commitment to the strategic importance of early completion of the project and therefore urged the Federal Road Maintenance Agency to rescue the situation.
“ We are waiting for funding from FERMA to do the rest of the drainage and start work on road shoulders, hiring of equipment and testing of materials. You can see with your eyes the materials we have on ground in our store. You have seen bags of cement, aggregates, reinforcement bars, binding wires, nails, timber, and plywood. But they are a far cry from the quantity needed to finish the work.
“ You can also see that rains are beginning to set in; a clear warning that we make hay while the sun shines. We need to speed up the progress of work but wish the Federal Government will promptly release funds.”