Residents of Ikot Usop, Nnung Asan clan in Ikot Abasi and Ikot Uboh Akpe in Mkpat Enin local government area, Akwa Ibom State have lamented being cut off from vehicular access for eight months.
The section of the road which is part of Ekparakwa – Ikot Abasi – Port Harcourt road has become a death trap particularly to private drivers who are unaware of the bad portion traversing Ikot Uboh Akpe village.
Speaking to our correspondent on Tuesday in Mkpat Enin, one of the villager leaders, Mr Emmanuel Udo revealed that for eight months, vehicles were not able to pass through the Ikot Uboh Akpe section of the road.
He stated that motorists plying Ikot Abasi and Port Harcourt have been forced to use a diversion which is longer, adding that those not familiar with the road have suffered terrible consequences as many people have lost their lives on the road.
He explained that the bad road portion has affected the economic fortune of the community as many women whose livelihood depended on displaying their goods for motorists to buy have been forced to restrict the display of their wares only in the market.
He called on the State Government to rescue the community by repairing the road.
“For eight months now no vehicle passes through Ikot Usop, Nnung Asan clan in Ikot Abasi and Ikot Uboh Akpe in Mkpat Enin local government area. The road has become a dead trap especially to private drivers who do not have any knowledge about the condition of road in Ikot Uboh akpe village.
“We are still begging the government to come to our aid. We all voted the Governor there and now, he has abandoned us.
“Due to this bad road, our wives only take goods to the market, because the travellers were our highest buyers, especially my wife who deals on plantain. Travelers buy at a high price but the village people in the market want it cheap,” he stated.
It was gathered that the State Government had contracted China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Limited (CCECC) to construct the road.
CCEC was said to have moved its equipment to site to commence work but were forced to leave when the villagers apprehended them and forced them to pay some money described as ‘matching ground’ before they continued with the construction.
When the Commissioner of Works, Prof. Eno Ibanga was contacted, he stated that there is an ongoing intervention work in the area by the state Government even though the road is a Federal Government road.
He said that the remedial work has started from the Abak axis of the road leading to Ekparakwa and on to Ikot Abasi.
He disclosed that the road linking Ekparakwa and Ikot Akpaden has also been awarded for rehabilitation, and assured that critical road works will be embarked upon as soon as the rain subsidies.
“Though that is a Federal Government road, the State Government had to award the intervention to CCECC which is still on site as we speak.
“Unfortunately the construction company cannot do much earth work as the collapsed portion as of today requires earth work. The construction company has said it cannot embark on critical earth work to avoid waste of resources as the road may not stand the test oftime.
“CCECC has had course to leave the spot they are working on to intervene in communities with need for urgent intervention still along that road,” he stated.
The Works Commissioner said the state would continue to intervene in critical areas of need as it is doing in Ekparakwa and Calabar – Itu highway, adding that government is in constant talks with the Federal Government to intervene in federal roads within the state.
Meanwhile, the Ikot Oku Ikono – Ekom Iman road linking Abak and Idoro roads in Uyo where a flyover is being constructed by Julius Berger has been allowed to deteriorate.
The slow pace of work on the road forced indigenes of the adjoining villages of Ikot Oku Ikono, Ediene, Afia Nsit and Ikot Ntuen to embark on a peaceful protest, saying construction of the flyover has blocked access routes to their communities.
The youths urged Julius Berger to fix alternative routes to the area to reduce the suffering of the residents as all access roads to the communities have been cut off.
Village Head of Nnung Udoe, Ediene Ikot Obio Imo in Uyo local government area, one of the roads affected by the ongoing flyover construction, Eteidung Augustine Udoh had aappealed for government’s intervention in maintaining roads in the area which have become deplorable as they were now diversion routes for motorists.
His appeal led to the intervention on the road by the Akwa Ibom State Road and other Infrastructure Maintenance Agency (AKROIMA), led by its Chairman, Dr Godwin Ntukudeh.
However, the prompt intervention work executed by AKROIMA to rehabilitate the entrance of the community where heavy traffic was diverted to has collapsed again.