Lawmaker urges Buhari to probe PTF’s abandoned road contract
THE lawmaker representing the Arochukwu/Ohafia Constituency in the House of Representatives, Uko Ndukwe Nkole, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the circumstances leading to non-execution of the Ohafia-Arochukwu Road rehabilitation contract awarded by the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) during his (Buhari’s) tenure as chairman.
Nkole raised questions on the issue when he undertook an inspection tour of the road, which was neglected over the years irrespective of the fact that contracts for rehabilitation work on the road had been awarded at different times.
Elder Kalu, a 72-year-old community leader in the area, told the lawmaker that the road has never been repaired since it was built by the defunct government of the eastern region.
He said that successive governments the strategic importance of the federal road, the huge traffic on it, the rich agricultural produce of the area, and the calibre of the people who are influential in all walks of life, including politics.
According to Kalu, it is difficult to understand why the road has been jinxed beyond reversal. Speaking to journalists at one of the eroded portions of the road at Ania Ohafia, Representative Nkole, who is a town planner by profession, recalled two previous contracts that were awarded to repair the road.
One of the contracts was said to be awarded by defunct PTF, which had President Buhari as executive chairman with the late Professor Chimere Ikoku, a notable son of Arochkwu and former vice chancellor of the University of Nigeria Nsukka, as vice chairman.
The second contract, which is supposed to be subsisting but seemingly abandoned, was awarded by former president Goodluck Jonathan’s federal government.
According to Nkole who said he supports president Buhari’s decision to probe into some government activities, urged him to extend same to failed contracts stressing that, in doing so “he should probe why the contract warded by the PTF under him failed to execute the rehabilitation of the Ohafia/Arochukwu federal road.”
He also urged the Federal Government to cause the return of the contractor handling the road contract presently to site and save the people and the road commuters from the prevailing hardship and pains.
President General of Nzuko Arochkwu Worldwide, Mazi Nnamdi Udoh, who was passing/driving along the road in company of Mazi Jideofor Kanu, a community leader in the area and stopped when he saw the lawmaker addressing journalists, said that the poor state of the road had scared and prevented sons and daughters of the area, especially his Arochukwu kinsmen, from coming home.
Mazi Udo who pleaded with government to make the repair a topmost priority, said, “our people hardly visit home now. Workers posted to Arochukwu Courts, hospitals, banks, schools and others do not accept the posting. Our new yam feast is approaching but the state of the road would not encourage the home-coming of our people.”
While Mazi Kanu said that flooding has swept away buildings, cutting some sections into two, a youth leader Mr. Kelechi Mbila, who also was passing by, lamented that their agricultural produce could no longer be transported to markets.