The Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) has called on the Federal Government to include the dilapidated Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene highway in the list of federal roads earmarked for concession by the federal ministry of works recently.
This call was made by the Chairman of the Organization in Akwa Ibom State, Mr Franklin Isong while fielding questions from members of the Correspondents Chapel, NUJ in Uyo yesterday.
According to him, the call has become imperative as the National Assembly has been unable to make adequate budgetary provision for the highway since the contract for its reconstruction was awarded.
He regretted that the road which has become a death trap is now a political gaming wondering why federal roads in Akwa Ibom State would be made to suffer such level of dilapidation and neglect even as the state is contributing the highest revenue to the Federation Account.
The chairman commended the Federal government initiative to concession some federal highways to private concerns to enhance their maintenance, stressing that the urgent reconstruction of the highway would save commuters from hardship and boost the socio-economic fortunes of Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.
“So, we are appealing to the President to intervene in our federal roads. We don’t know why the Calabar-Itu-road has not been captured in the concession plan of the federal government. But we are saying that whatever it takes it should be placed on the topmost priority of the federal government”, he stressed.
Also Read: Ita Enang Urges Legislators from A’ Ibom and C’ River to Support Calls to Repair Calabar- Itu Rd
He decried the hardship faced by commuters especially female traders who transport foodstuffs from northern Cross River to Akwa Ibom and other parts of the country in the past 25 years that the condition of the road deteriorated, adding that such female traders are sometimes attacked and raped by hoodlums when lorries conveying their goods break down due to poor condition of the road.
He also called on officials and federal appointees from the two states especially the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godswill Akpabio to impress upon the FG to as a matter of urgency face lift the road rather than politicking with it.
“We are calling on the Federal Government and our brothers who are in government to persuade the federal government to see reasons not to allow this project enter into politics”, he said.
Isong’s appeal is coming after the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang had in an interaction with Correspondents in Uyo revealed that inadequate budgetary provisions were stalling the construction of the road while blaming officials and National Assembly members from both states for not doing enough to attract FG attention to the pathetic condition of the road, wondering why he should be left alone to lobby for funds to be appropriated for the highway.