Benin-Lokoja turns highway of agony, leaves commuters stranded
• Edo lawmakers protest against poor state, want contract revoked
Members of the Edo State House of Assembly, at the weekend, protested against the poor state of Benin-Lokoja Highway. Led by the Speaker, Kabiru Adjoto, the lawmakers called on the Federal Government to revoke the contract for the dualisation of the road because the contractor had failed to meet up.
At Ekpoma, in Esan West Local Council Area, Adjoto, described the road as worse than a farm path and lamented the slow pace of work by the contractors handling the construction.
“It is our view as an assembly that the contract awarded to Dantata and Sawoe, Mother Cat and Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) should be revoked. He said many sections of the highway had been completely cut off, while long queues of vehicles were daily trapped on the road, leaving the drivers and their commuters helpless.
Since the road has become impassable, commuters travelling from Benin City to Auchi and Lokoja, have said that it has become a death trap.Worst hit is the axis between Ehor to Iruekpen and Ekpoma, which has become almost completely impassable.
Vehicles, including heavy-duty trucks have now diverted to Ighoneki, Ogwa Igueben axis, to put more pressure on the road, which was recently built by the state government.
According to some commuters, who spoke to The Guardian, what used to be a two-hour journey from Benin to Auchi, now takes close to four hours.They narrated that vehicles have resorted to meandering through Ifon in Ondo State to Uzebba before connecting Auchi.
The lawmakers urged the Minister of Works, Raji Fashola to expedite action on the road, describing the condition as unacceptable.The House summoned the contracting firms and the Federal Controller of Works, Edo State to appear before it today at a Committee-of-Whole, to explain the delay in the rehabilitation.
“We are dissatisfied with the federal controller of works and we have resolved that the contractors could no longer deceive us. It is unacceptable for Edo residents to travel through Ondo State when they are coming to Edo North,” he said.
However, the Principal Resident Engineer in charge of the Ekpoma axis of the road, Ishaku Mamri, said he was not in the best position to tell the lawmakers the alleged delay on the work.
He said Dantata and Sawoe construction firm was mobilised to the Ekpoma axis of the road for a palliative work to address the traffic challenges on the road.Also speaking, the Project Site Supervisor for the Suleiman Nasiru, said the initial contract awarded to the firm was from Agbede, in Etsako West Local Council to Ewu hill, in Esan Central Local Council adding that the Ekpoma axis was recently awarded to the company to address the perennial traffic challenges in the area.
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