Residents of Ikot Usop, Nnung Asan clan in Ikot Abasi and Ikot Uboh Akpe in Mkpat Enin Local Government area of 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 unaware of the bad portions traversing Ikot Uboh Akpe village.
Speaking to newsmen yesterday, one of the village leaders, Mr Emmanuel Udo, revealed that for eight months, vehicles have been unable to pass through the Ikot Uboh Akpe section of the road.
According to him, motorists plying Ikot Abasi and Port Harcourt have been forced to use a diversion that is longer, and those not familiar with the road have suffered terrible consequences as many have lost their lives on the road.
He explained that such diversions and the deplorable nature of the bad road had led to hike in transport fares. Besides, economic activities in the community have been hampered as many women whose means of livelihood depend on displaying their wares along the road for motorists to buy, have been forced to restrict the display of their wares only on market days.
He called on the federal and state government to come to their rescue by repairing the road.
It was gathered that the state government had contracted China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Limited (CCECC) to re-construct the road. CCECC was said to have moved its equipment to site, but was forced to leave when villagers apprehended them and forced them to pay some money described as ‘matching ground’ before they continued with construction.
When the Commissioner for Works, Prof. Eno Ibanga, was contacted, he stated there was an ongoing intervention in the area by the state even though the road is a federal road. He said that remedial work had 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 had also been awarded for rehabilitation, and assured that critical road works would be embarked upon as soon as the rain subsides.
“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 work as the collapsed portion as of today requires earthwork. The construction company has said it cannot embark on critical earthwork to avoid waste of resources, as the road may not stand the test of time.
“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 said.