Deteriorating infrastructure makes South-East sour

By Ike Uchechukwu, Calabar

A Civil Society group , Niger-Delta Activists Forum have  threatened to shut down Odukpani /Itu – Ikot Ekpene Road within 30 days following contractors absence and the static nature of work on the road.

They made the threat during a press conference at the Ernest Etim Bassey NUJ, press centre in Calabar Friday.

The National President of NDAF, Success Jack and other executive members, including Paul Ajie, the Cross River State chairman of the group ,said two years after NDAF led the protest against the deplorable state of the road and contracts awarded to Julius Berger and Sermatech Nigeria Limited nothing has been done neither has there been any change .

They stated that: “We were told by the Hon Minister of Works, that this project would be given priority funding, through the SUKUK bond starting from the year 2020. But sadly, all the promises were dashed.

“It is trite to emphasize at this point, that the sufferings, the pains, economic and social woes brought upon our people, by the dysfunctionality of this road is one too many.

“Our people are however disappointed by the fact that, while other projects across the country are being well funded and progressed, this one has virtually remained unattended with huge economic loss and hemorrhage to the people of Cross Rivers State, the Niger Delta and Nigeria at large.

“We acknowledge that, over this period in review, a lot of work has been done in awarding the balance of the distance to Sermatech Nig Ltd. But Mr President, there are still issues hindering progress and causing a stalemate,” they said .

They further stated that Sermatech Nig Ltd has mobilized to the road but were stopped from commencing work because compensations for individual properties on the right of way have not been paid.

“Julius Berger and CCECC from our investigation need to be cashbacked to fast track their jobs and open a new leaf in social and economic life of our people.

“Your Excellency, our apprehension is  growing by the day and communities are getting agitated, businesses are increasingly being unsettled, security of lives and properties are at stake.

“Fuel tankers are falling on daily basis risking the cremation of local dwellers, passengers, transporters of goods and services are easy targets for petty robbers and bandits.

“Commercial transporters are no longer able to earn their fair and sustainable wages any longer, because simple journeys of an hour is now protracted for over six hours or more.  The ripple effects of this singular project that remains unattended, is threatening to drive our land and people to extinction.

“Our last straw of hope, is one your integrity Mr President, please don’t fail us. The paucity of funds complained by the federal government should not be said, only when it comes to critical projects of national importance within the Niger Delta region.

“With barely fifteen months to the 2023 general elections, our hope for the completion of this project is growing thinner. We believe that this situation provides you with a rare opportunity to write your name in gold in the hearts of our people.

“Mr Fashola the Hon Minister for Works and Housing, you are doing well but please do better. Until the project is done and commissioned and our sufferings in this regard ended, we would continue to assume that sincerity has not been displayed, because nothing has changed.

“We will be reviewing the situation in the next thirty days , with the inevitable option of shutting down the road once more. We believe that cross Rivers/Akwa-Ibom States and Niger Delta is not less important than any other part of our Country Nigeria. For now, we wait while urging that the right things be done and quickly to sir,” they stated .

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