Indigenes protest against delay in road project, seek Okowa’s intervention
Concerned indigenes of Asaba and Okpanam in Delta State yesterday embarked on a peaceful protest over the delay in executing the road project linking the two towns.
Successive governments had awarded the Asaba-Okpanam road, among others, but the last was awarded by the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration, which had paid the contractor a mobilisation fee of N2 billion.
But to underscore the determination of the state government to successfully complete the project, the protesters stormed the Okpanam Community centre in the early hours of yesterday.
They were armed with placard, which read: Okowa Prevail On The Contractor Handling Asaba-Okpanam Road To Expedite Action On The Road Project Before The Next Rainy Season Sets In By April.
The Guardian learnt, however, that the state government had indulged the firm handling the project in an unnecessary delay tactics after collecting mobilisation fees, a situation the protesters described as a sabotage of the state government’s development effort in the area.
Although, the protesters were peaceful and civil, passers-by described the delay of the Asaba-Okpanam road project as painful, and urged the state government to either sack or commence prosecution of the contractor.
Speaking to The Guardian, leader of the protesting group, James Okolie, expressed the fear that the rate at which the contractor was handling the project may constitute an impediment to its successful completion, adding that the development may dent Governor Okowa’s good intentions.
Okolie, however, urged Okowa to immediately embark on the construction of Ibusa-Okpanam link road, as well as the completion of the long abandoned Akwukwu-Igbo-Ugbolu road to give the communities some sense of belonging in the state.
He said the state government should endeavor to complete most of the projects this year so as to fully restore the people’s confidence.Reacting to the development, some workers of the contracting firm who craved anonymity, said work was in progress, adding that the protesters were acting the script of those working against the development efforts of the state government.
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