With millions of Naira already sunk into the construction and maintenance of federal roads in Akwa Ibom, the state government has stated that it would appear that the Federal Government has no real interest in road infrastructure in the State.
Lamenting the deplorable conditions of federal roads in the State, the Commissioner for Works, Mr. Ephraim Inyangeyen, made the observation on Wednesday, January 29, while inspecting progress of work at the ongoing reclamation of a broken portion of the Calabar-Itu Road within the periphery of the State Capital.
It would be recalled that in December 2019, the State Government had quickly intervened in reconstructing and reclaiming the failed portion of the same road which caused serious hindrances to commuters and halted socioeconomic activities in the State.
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Condemning what he called “gross lack of interest in infrastructure in the State” by the federal government, the commissioner who did not hide his feelings queried why the federal government has deliberately or tactically abdicated its responsibilities, leaving the State government with no option than to bear the added burden of ensuring that federal roads in the state are constructed and properly maintained.
Giving updates on the ongoing reclamation project near the state’s broadcasting station, AKBC, Mr. Inyangeyen disclosed to newsmen that the state government has spent millions on the project which became an emergency, considering that it is the only road linking Akwa Ibom with Cross River State
“It was in December last year that we noticed that the culvert under the road constructed few years ago by the immediate past administration caved in and under the pressure of the new road, it cut it into two. At that point His Excellency, Gov. Udom Emmanuel, even though he was not around called for immediate intervention because his administration does not play with anything having to do with the interest of the people. And we still have a worse situation on this same road less than 200 metres from here and if we leave it, it will also cut the road into two; yet this is the only road linking the two States of Akwa Ibom and Cross River “, he said.
The Commissioner who was accompanied by directors from the Ministry of Works during the inspection further drew attention to the heavy traffic on the road as a result of heavy-duty trucks transporting stones and gravel daily from Cross River through the state to other South-South states and those in the east and west maintained that, ordinarily, one would have expected the Federal Government to show genuine interest.
“Imagine that Gov. Emmanuel didn’t step in at the time he did and also paid the contractors to accelerate the reclamation at this point. The truth is, the Federal Government is not doing any road in Akwa Ibom State. There is no work currently supervised by the Federal Ministry of Works”.
The Works boss also lamented the delay, denial or politicking by the federal government in refunding monies spent on such critical interventions to the state government.
Giving highlights on the condition of the Airport Road, Mr. Inyangeyen said the state government deserves encouragement and commendation and not propaganda and condemnation by those who know next to nothing about the road.
He regretted that the Airport Road was constructed without drainage even though it traverses many thickly populated residential areas and was also built higher than the surrounding areas, thus making it flood-prone.
According to him, this was the reason the State government decided to tackle the imminent dangers by expanding the road with appropriate design.
Commending the governor for his sustained interest in the physical development of Akwa Ibom State, Akparawa Inyangeyen once again called for support and prayers as the Completion Agenda of the administration progressively unfolds.
Credit: Hilary Sunday