Nigerian Bar Association

By Ugochukwu Alaribe

The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Aba, Abia State, has said it suspended its planned protest over the state of roads in Aba ,following an undertaking by the state government to fix roads in the city.

Chairman, NBA,Aba, Mr. Bertram Fatou,who told Vanguard that the resolution to suspend the protest was reached at the Association’s emergency general meeting held yesterday in Aba, stated that the NBA also considered appeals from well meaning individuals to give government a chance to address the situation.

The NBA,Aba Branch had on November 12 planned to embark on street protest over the poor state of roads today.

According to the NBA chairman,” The protest has been suspended following entreaties and an undertaking by the government to fix the roads. This was the resolution at our emergency general meeting yesterday”

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor,Mr. Onyebuchi Ememanka , stated that the state government has rehabilitated many roads in Aba and is committed to delivering more.

He commended the NBA,Aba Branch for suspending the protest,alleging that there were plans to hijack the protest by suspected hoodlums.

“There’s no road that’s standing today in Aba that one can make use of that doesn’t bear the signature of Gov.Okezie Ikpeazu.It is preposterous to say that the government of Abia State has been insensitive to issues. In Aba alone, we can count how many state roads this government has done. Ukaegbu, Ehere and Umuola were unpassable. Trees used to grow on Umuola road. Plantain used to grow on Ehere road who fixed them? Are they not state roads.

“Have we done all the roads, the answer is no, are there roads that we did that failed? The answer is also yes. All of us are from Aba and we know the story of Faulks Road. It’s on record that from.the time Dee Sam Mbakwe left office in 1983 till date, it was only under Okezie Ikpeazu that Faulks Road became accessible from Brass Junction to the Expressway. We’ve seen many Governors from Old Imo State till today. It didn’t fail so early as presumed. There were technical issues. My happiness is that the people of Aba saw that road when it was constructed, they saw it and made use of it. It was never commissioned and we admit it. We’ll never complete a road like Faulks Road without commissioning it. It was when they were supposed to lay the wearing course that the technical issues were noticed. The people of Aba should be patient. Ikpeazu fixed that road to the point that people were happy. When things go wrong people forget. Ikpeazu will refix Faulks Road again. We didn’t say it didn’t spoil. In a matter of weeks, work will start work on Faulks Road. It’s wrong for one to say you can’t go to Ariaria. What should be said is that you can’t go to Ariaria through Faulks Road, but there are other roads done by this government that can take you to Ariaria. From Abayi, through MCC road, you enter Samek road, you’re in Ariaria, but that is not an excuse why Faulks Road failed. I don’t want people to think Ariaria is not accessible.”

On whether the NBA wasnt intimidated to suspend the protest, Ememanka said; “I’m a member of the NBA, the issue of intimidation can not come up. Minus myself and the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Barr ACB Agbazuere, there are five members of NBA Aba in the current Abia State Executive Council. Post Basic Education, Barr Chijioke Mark, Commissioner for Joint Project, Barr Chinenye Emelogu. The Secretary to the state government, Barr Chris Ezem is a lawyer, so how can the government want to intimidate members of a profession that has such top representation? What we did was to dialogue with the NBA. We dialogue with ourselves. Those of us in government dialogued with the NBA.

“We came to our branch of NBA and said that this resolution to protest was done hastily. Since you have members holding key positions in this government, you people should have allowed us to come to you so that you ask us questions, is it that Aba has been abandoned then you hear from us. I salute the NBA for listening to the voice of reasoning.

“By the 31st of January, appreciable progress would have been made on those roads. Barr Bob Ogu who’s the Commissioner for Works wouldn’t have made such a promise without having backup information. By that time frame we gave, the Bar will be impressed. It’s good that they listened and saved Aba from another protest which could have been hijacked.”

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