The agony currently being experienced by road users in Anambra State will be a thing of the past once the rains are over, the Anambra State Government has said. This is even as the government plans to construct a total of 25 kilometres of internal roads in Awka, Onitsha, Nnewi and Ekwulobia, reports Jude Atupulazi and Uche Amunike.
Speaking to Fides in his office in Awka, the Anambra State Commissioner for Works, Mr Marcel Ifejiofor, said these were part of measures by the Willie Obiano Administration to not only ease the suffering of the people of the state but to improve the aesthetics of the state, especially Awka, the capital city.
Currently the people of the state have been crying out over the deteriorating condition of roads in the state which is triggering heavy traffic congestions, causing road users nightmares.
But the Works Commissioner has assured that all that would soon be forgotten once the rainy season ended.
'The truth is that when you say the road is in bad condition, yeah, some roads are in bad condition; especially the federal roads. But you know, this year, the rain is too much and has caused some disasters and a lot of damages, as well as creating a lot of erosion active sites; but we are on it. The dry season is coming. I want Ndi Anambra to know that we are going to face this challenge headlong. We are going to make sure that these roads come back better than they were before the rains. We're equal to the task.
'His Excellency has directed that and we're taking stock of all the bad roads and all the potholes in Anambra State. As we are doing the new ones and the major repairs, the Anambra Road Maintenance Agency (ARMA), will be doing the patching as part of the Zero Pot Hole Policy. So, we're going to make the roads better during the dry season.
On plans for Awka Capital City, Mr Ifejiofor said the governor had directed they scoop out 10 kilometres of internal roads, not just in Awka Capital, but 5km in Onitsha, 5km in n Ekwulobia, making it a total of 25 km.
Nnewi, 5km in Ekwulobia, making it a total of 25 km.
'Imagine where 10km of internal roads is done in Awka. It's as good as the whole roads in Awka being completed. And as we're doing that, the Ministry of Environment is opening the drains. We have some areas in Awka that have challenges of water discharge. We're working on that,' the Works Commissioner said.
Noting that the new project would begin as soon as possible, he said the consultants were already on duty.
'We have detailed them because we can't do anything without the consultants coming out with the design. We are designing these roads and immediately they're concluded, we go through the due process for their awards and the job starts.
On the issue of potholes scattered across the state, Mr Ifejiofor, while noting that ARMA was doing a good job, however said the rains had hindered their performance, pointing out that asphalt could not be done in the rainy season.
He however said the agency was carrying out palliative measures by using stones to make the roads passable, promising that immediately the dry season set in, they would use asphalt.
He said the roads had been divided into zones and would be tackled immediately the rains stopped.
'We're going to engage more workers for them and they will tackle these pot holes headlong,' he assured.
On the Enugu/Onitsha Expressway, the Works boss said the state government had very big plans for it.
'If you remember, the Federal Government presently owes Anambra State N42.5billion on Federal Government roads we have intervened on in Anambra State. They have approved N37.9billion but haven't paid a dime. That se this road is used by Anambra people, the governor directed that we do some palliatives and we're doing some palliatives especially in Umuokpu, Timber Market.
Notwithstanding, because this road is used by Anambra people, the governor directed that we do some palliatives and we're doing some palliatives especially in Umuokpu, Timber Market.
'Unfortunately, we've been talking to the Federal Government who said they have awarded the Amawbia/Umunya axis of the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway and you can see some palliatives being done by RCC. So, the road is better and thank God for us, the dry season is coming.
Let's see what will happen. But as a loving governor, His Excellency promised that he won't live to see Anambra people suffer. So, we're doing something on all federal roads. If you go to Umuoji, Uke, Nnobi Road, erosion would have cut the road, but we intervened. We saved the road. If you go to Okija Bridge, it's bad and we're working on it. So, we're working on some federal roads inasmuch as they are owing us.
Have cut the road, but we intervened. We saved the road. If you go to Okija Bridge, it's bad and we're working on it. So, we're working on some federal roads inasmuch as they are owing us.
'We're calling on them equally to pay us. If we have this money in our purse, we're going to do more,' the commissioner said, assuring that it was not a political statement.
On the airport project, he said the governor had directed that within two weeks, tenders for the runways. And as you know, work is going on on the roads. The road from after Obi Nteje and up to Umueri from the express is handled by KANUBI Construction Company. The one opposite the Orient Refinery is being handled by CCC. So, the governor has given an executive directive.