By Steve Oko
There appears to be hope in sight for commuters and motorists plying the nightmarish Aba-Port Harcourt expressway as Abia State Government has announced that a palliative work would commence on the road in four weeks time.
Commissioner for Information, Prince Okey Kanu who gave the hint at a press briefing in Umuahia after the State Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, said one lane of the dual carriage highway would be made motorable from Aba to Obigbo border town with Rivers State.
He said the palliative work was the outcome of the recent visit to the state by the Minister of Works Senator David Umahi.
Vanguard reports that the highway has virtually collapsed especially between Ala Oji in Aba and Obigbo border town with Rivers State.
The Commissioner who decried the deplorable condition of the highway appealed to motorists to exercise patience as the Gov. Alex Otti -led new administration in the state was making frantic efforts to fix the federal highway as well as other roads across the state.
According to him, the sorry- state of the highway has hampered movements and economic activities around Aba end of the expressway.
He further hinted that another four newly rehabilitated roads in Aba were ready for inauguration.
The Commissioner identified the new roads as Jubilee Road, Umuimo Road, Old Express Road and Udeagbara Road, noting that Gov. Otti has already inaugurated three roads completed in Aba by his administration .
He said remedial work “is going on” on a number of roads within Umuahia the state capital, adding that in three weeks time, palliative work will also commence on the Umuahia-Ohafia road.
He said that 60 per cent demolition of marked structures in the proposed Ossah road expansion in Umuahia had been recorded.
The Commissioner expressed delight that for the first time, owners of structures marked for demolition, on their own volition help Government in dismantling the structures.
Responding to inquiries on whether Government had paid compensation for the affected structures, the General Manager of Umuahia Capital Development Authority, Mr Kingsley Agomuoh who was present at the briefing, said that many owners of the affected property had confirmed the receipt of payment to him.
Agomuoh who hails from Ossah Ibeku, one of the communities mostly affected, challenged anyone claiming not to have received compensation to meet with him with facts.
He said that some members of the opposition hiding under the cloak of property owners to blackmail Government should be ignored.
Recall that Gov. Otti, had during a media parley over the weekend, disclosed that N771 million had been set aside for compensation of owners of the affected property.
On the traffic congestion being witnessed on the road due to the on-going demolition exercise, Mr Agomuoh advised motorists to consider alternative roads in the Interim.
Contributing, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Kenechukwu Nwosu, said that the Governor had declared a state of emergency on the sector to rebuild it.
He said that the State Government had also resolved to pay its counterpart funding to attract the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) funding.
Nwosu said that Government had also resolved to recover every land illegally acquired by trespassers in public schools.
He said that the Governor had directed that all such property be recovered immediately.
” It’s heartless for people to begin to raise private structures within school premises”, he fumed.