UMUAHIA-IKWUANO-IKOT-EKPENE FEDERAL ROAD: Remove Crops, Buildings Within Right of Way (RoW)- Rep. Onuigbo urges Constituents
*Says Contractors Ready To Return To Site

Rep. Sam Iheanyichukwu Onuigbo, Member Representing Ikwuano/ Umuahia Federal constituency
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UMUAHIA-IKWUANO-IKOT-EKPENE FEDERAL ROAD: Remove Crops, Buildings Within Right of Way (RoW)- Rep. Onuigbo urges Constituents
*Says Contractors Ready To Return To Site

Representative Sam Onuigbo, member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia North and South Federal Constituency of Abia State says
the Honourable Minister has called for the immediate removal of crops and buildings that are within the Right of Way (RoW) along Umuahia-Ikwuano-Ikot Ekpene Federal Road to ensure a work devoid of obstruction on the road.

This is even as the Lawmaker informed that the reconstruction of the road which has been in a deplorable state over the years would commence in a fraction of time.

He exonerated the Contractors as he blamed the delay on pausity of funds.

Rep. Onuigbo gave this remark today, Thursday, during the stakeholders’ meeting on the reconstruction of Umuahia-Ikwuano-Ikot Ekpene Federal Road —Second Phase— held at the MOUAU Women Association Event Centre Umudike.

“As we get ready to welcome the contractors back to site, let me use this medium to communicate to you that the Honourable Minister has written to me, asking me to address you to ensure that efforts are made to remove crops and buildings that are within the Right of Way (RoW) so as to ensure that the contractors have an unimpeded access to the road as they resume work.”

Recounting on the poor state of the office, Odozi-Obodo lamented that the entire road had completely in a state of disrepair before his assumption of office in the year 2015, as some parts, he recalled were impassible.

Rep. Onuigbo wailed that the pathetic condition of the road turned his nights into mere daylight, upon emergence in office, but reiterated his determination to effectively represent his Constituents at the Lower Chamber.

Onuigbo who decried the recurrent palliative works carried out on the road, disclosed that in his bid to provide a lasting solution to same, his perseverance as demonstrated by his frequent visits to the Minister of Works and Housing, His Excellency Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN, earned him accolades from the latter.

He, therefore, expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the Minister for responding to the protracted yearnings of his heart, as he used the medium to call for the unreserved support of the people to avoid any form of retardation, whatsoever on their way to speedily realising the dream. 

The address read in detail:

“By the time I was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2015, the Umuahia-Ikwuano-Ikot Ekpene federal road had completely collapsed to the extent that most parts of it were impassable.”Many of us here can bear testimony to this fact. So, I resumed duties at the House of Representatives, bearing a huge burden which incidentally is the sad story of many federal roads in the Southeast. It was a burden I welcomed with relish and immediately committed to doing everything within my power to ensure that respite is brought to our people. It has been a very long, slow, and tortuous journey which began as soon as I settled down to work at the House of Representatives.”

The first step I took was to move a motion on Thursday, May 26, 2016, calling for urgent attention on the road. I followed this up by seeking for and having a meeting with the then Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing, His Excellency Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN, on Tuesday, June 14, 2016. At that meeting, I presented the Honourable Minister with pictorial evidence of the sad and deplorable state of the road and made two requests: that the Minister directs the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), to carry out a palliative work on the failed sections of the road; and secondly that action is taken to end the annual ritual of carrying out palliative works on the road, by effecting a total reconstruction of the road. In a letter dated June 15, 2016, and signed by the Coordinating Director of Highways, Engineer Bala Danshehu on behalf of the Honourable Minister, the Minister affirmed his commitment to ensuring that first, palliative works are carried out on the failed sections of the road, and then to ensure that total reconstruction is carried out. 

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The address read in detail:

  1. By the time I was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2015, the Umuahia-Ikwuano-Ikot Ekpene federal road had completely collapsed to the extent that most parts of it were impassable. Many of us here can bear testimony to this fact. So, I resumed duties at the House of Representatives, bearing a huge burden which incidentally is the sad story of many federal roads in the Southeast. It was a burden I welcomed with relish and immediately committed to doing everything within my power to ensure that respite is brought to our people. It has been a very long, slow, and tortuous journey which began as soon as I settled down to work at the House of Representatives. 
     
  2. The first step I took was to move a motion on Thursday, May 26, 2016, calling for urgent attention on the road. I followed this up by seeking for and having a meeting with the then Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing, His Excellency Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN, on Tuesday, June 14, 2016. At that meeting, I presented the Honourable Minister with pictorial evidence of the sad and deplorable state of the road and made two requests: that the Minister directs the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), to carry out a palliative work on the failed sections of the road; and secondly that action is taken to end the annual ritual of carrying out palliative works on the road, by effecting a total reconstruction of the road. In a letter dated June 15, 2016, and signed by the Coordinating Director of Highways, Engineer Bala Danshehu on behalf of the Honourable Minister, the Minister affirmed his commitment to ensuring that first, palliative works are carried out on the failed sections of the road, and then to ensure that total reconstruction is carried out. 
     
  3. On December 16, 2016, we carried out the flag-off of the palliative works on the road, at Okwe Oboro, in Ikwuano Local Government Area, and by April of 2017, the formerly impassable sections of the road had been fixed. 
     
  4. Still, I followed through with letters and engagements with the Minister and his office, reminding him of the second part of his promise until the road was awarded for reconstruction in May 2019. 
     
  5. I am aware that even though the contractors, Messrs. Hartland Nigeria Limited and Raycon & Company Nigeria Limited, mobilized to site during the last quarter of 2019, the pace of work was very slow due to the inadequate release of funds by the Federal Government. As your representative, I had continued to push for increase in funding during every budget cycle with relative success. But, with paucity of funds a major challenge, I knew it was important to begin to find alternative means of funding if we are to realize our objective of tackling once and for all the deplorable state of the road. 
     
    7.  As it was increasingly becoming obvious that the contractors have been handicapped by paucity of funds, I sustained my pressure to convince the Minister on the need to find alternative sources of funding for the road including finding a way to include it as a Sukuk project. On September 27, 2021, I again sent a reminder to him asking that an alternative means of funding the reconstruction of the road be explored as a matter of urgency. Thankfully, on October 27, 2021, the Federal Government approved the provision of alternative means of funding for the road, under the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Road Tax Credit Scheme. This move has shone a huge light on the possibility of finally reconstructing this all-important road and has raised our hopes tremendously. For this, I am profoundly grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR and his administration and the Honourable Minister for making this possible. I am not only thankful to President Buhari’s administration, but also to the totality of my constituents who have shown their unwavering faith in me, knowing that like them, I too bear the pains of the bad state of the road. 
     
  6. As we get ready to welcome the contractors back to site, let me use this medium to communicate to you that the Honourable Minister has written to me, asking me to address you to ensure that efforts are made to remove crops and buildings that are within the Right of Way (RoW) so as to ensure that the contractors have an unimpeded access to the road as they resume work. 
     
  7. My dear constituents, and fellow Nigerians, the Umuahia-Ikwuano-Ikot Ekpene federal road is a burden we have collectively borne. At no point in all my years at the National Assembly have I lost sight of the need to fix this road. Neither have I ever stopped working hard to realise this dream. I have determinedly been a constant at the offices of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and on more than one occasion, the Honourable Minister has openly commended me both orally and in writing for my tenacity. I wear this shoe and I know where it pains the most. Thankfully, help is finally here. Let us therefore play our parts and ensure that there will be no inhibition to the speedy realization of this dream. 
     
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