Trapped truck at gully site prevents lawmakers from inspecting Ohafia-Arochukwu Road

Committee members at the spot where the truck blocked the Ohafia-Arochukwu federal road

Committee members at the spot where the truck blocked the Ohafia-Arochukwu federal road

THE Senate ad hoc Committee on Works, who undertook inspection of some dilapidated federal roads and flood/gully erosion-devastated areas in Abia North Senatorial Zone of Abia State on Friday, were prevented from continuing inspection of Ohafia -Arochukwu Road to Arochukwu by a truck that was trapped for three days at a gully-erosion point, blocking the road at Ania Ohafia.

The committee consequently ended the road inspection and made a U-turn to inspect the serious erosion site on Elu Amuke Ohafia before proceeding to Oruruala Isiukwuato major erosion menace that has devastated the area for years.

Before the ad hoc committee set out from Umuahia, the state capital, the senator representing Abia Central and immediate past governor of the state, Senator Theodore Orji, took the members, comprising Senators Barnabas Gemade (Chairman),  Uche Ekwunife, Bassey Albert, Matthew Urohido and Clifford Odia to the  Ahia Orie Ette erosion site that has posed serious threat to Umuahia.

Speaking after the inspection visits, Senator Gemade noted the magnitude of the problem, devastations and the reactions of the people, saying that their visit was sequel to the Motion moved on the floor of the Senate by Senator Mao Ohuabunwa from Abia North, which he said compelled the Senate to commence direct inspections to some states, beginning with Abia.

He, however, remarked that the problem was not new except that, this time around, the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari, was resolved to effect change through physical action and not pledges.

He urged the people to have some patience pledging that his committee would make strong recommendations to the Senate over their plight.

Ohuabunwa in his remarks appreciated the Senate for its quick reaction to his motion by constituting an ad hoc committee to undertake the visit. He urged the Senate and federal government to act quickly on the committee’s recommendation towards addressing the problem permanently. 

In a memo addressed to the Chairman of the Senate Works Committee, the state Ministry of Works pleaded with the Chairman to “prevail on the relevant authorities to adequately effect appropriation to rehabilitate Federal Roads in the State.

According to memo signed by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Richard Nwala, “ the level of dilapidation of the roads has caused the Abia State government to write the Federal Government severally, including requests for permission to take up the construction of some of them using State fund, despite the state’s lean resources.”

“Requests for permission were made on the rehabilitation of Port-Harcourt Road Aba, Aba-Owerri Road and Aba-Ikot Ekpene Road, which are no longer passable.”

He listed 16 other federal road projects, which rehabilitation contracts, he said, were awarded and abandoned. 

It would be recalled that the collapsed state of federal roads and serious erosion sites in Abia North has become a challenge to senators and House of Representatives members from the area.

Before his death last year, the late Senator Uche Chukwumerije mounted sustained pressure on the Federal Government and contractors handling projects in the zone. He also visited the sites regularly.

Less than two months after he became the member for Arochukwu/Ohafia Constituency in the House of Representatives , Chief Uko Nkole  raised a similar motion in the  house. He drew the members’ attention to the Ohafia-Arochukwu Road, which he said, had prevented sons and daughters of the area from coming home for their 2015 New Yam cultural feasts.

In a related development, the House of Representatives has urged the authorities of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to undertake emergency maintenance works to ameliorate the suffering of commuters on the Iruekpen – Ehor segment of the Auchi – Ekpoma – Ehor- Benin City Road.

Passing a motion sponsored by Patrick Aisowieren, the House also urged the Federal Ministry of Works to direct the contractors handling the road project to return to site to complete the work.

It also urged the works ministry to urgently initiate the process of reconstructing and dualising the Gwarzo-Dayi Road in Kano State.

The House took the decision after it adopted the prayers of a motion introduced by Nasiru Sule Garo of APC representing Gwarzo/Ikabo Federal Constituency of Kano State and 21 others.

The parliament noted that the road has been in a state of disrepair as a result of which many lives and property are being lost on a daily basis.

Garo noted that only recently, a former Zonal Director of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Halilu Ahmad Getso lost 11 members of his family on the road as a result of an accident that claimed 14 lives.

Consequently, the House urged FERMA to immediately commence remedial works to alleviate the sufferings of people plying the road, pending when construction would begin in earnest.

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