It took 500 yrs, but Bayelsa riverine community now has link road

By Samuel Oyadongha, IGBEDI

RESIDENTS of Igbedi community, a fishing and farming settlement on the bank of the Igbedi Creek, Kolokuma-Opokuma Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, are overjoyed as the link road to the area is about 90 per cent completed.

NDV gathered the first layer of the stone base to the serene riverside community has been completed while the second layer is ongoing.

Not connected by road for five centuries

Though not too far from Yenagoa, the state capital, the agrarian settlement, which is on the fringe of its parent Kolokuma-Opokuma Council Area was until now not linked by road.

Residents had to journey through the perilous creek to Sabageria and continue thereafter or risk trekking the distance, sometimes riding on commercial motorcycle through the bumpy bush path to Amassoma road junction. 

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NDV learned that it takes about two hours walking through the dangerous path and 45 minutes on motorcycle, which cost between N1000 and N1500, especially during the rainy season when the area is marshy and flooded. 

Changed narrative

But the story is different today following the construction of a road to the community by the Senator Douye Diri administration,  making travelling to the area now stress-free,  quicker and a thing of joy to the natives,  who hitherto paid exorbitant marine transportation fares either through hand-paddled canoes or engine boats. 

Economic activities have also increased in the area lately with more goods coming in and going out of the community. Also farmers can now evacuate their farm produce to urban centre markets and make more money for themselves.

Residents excited

Some natives who spoke with NDV expressed gratitude to Diri for the road project, saying their over 500-year-old community is accessible by road.

“As you can see, this is a project that is dear to our community. Road which is taken for granted in some climes is luxury to us in the backwaters of the Delta. We have suffered years of hardship without road.

“Before now, we have to travel from Igbedi to Sabageria and if you miss that early morning boat, it will take another day for you to get to Sabageria except you settle for hand-paddled canoe. 

“It takes about 45 minutes to get to this junction on motorcycle and on foot, two hours to trek from Igbedi community,” said a resident, who identified himself as Thomas.

Another resident, Ere Afani said: “The road has opened up Igbedi. You can get to the junction in less than four minutes.

“Water trucks and food trucks can now access the community easily and this has helped reduce the cost of things here. We can also access the rest of the state with ease,” she added.

“The suffering before now was much, especially during the rainy season. With N200, you can access the junction as against the N1000 and N1500 we were spending when there was no road. We thank God for Diri.

“There were others before him but nothing was done for us in spite of our closeness to the state capital,” Ebi, an Okada rider said.

Company gets pass mark

Chairman, state Directorate for Project Monitoring and Evaluation, Ebiye Tarabina, who visited the project site, commended the company handling the project, PAACIE Construction,  for the quality and pace of work achieved, urging the contractor to sustain the tempo.

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He said the present administration was fully committed to the infrastructue development of the state, adding that it was imperative for contractors to abide by the contractual terms of agreement to deliver as at when due.

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