The Senate has urged the Ministry of Works and Housing to promptly address the deteriorating condition of Umuahia-Umudike-Ikot-Ekpene and Aba-Ossisioma to Port-Harcourt roads.
A thorough investigation into the delayed reconstruction projects has also been mandated.
In response to the pressing concerns over the state of South-East roads, the Senate has called upon the executive branch, particularly the Ministry of Works and Housing, to take immediate action.
The repair and restoration of the Umuahia-Umudike-Ikot-Ekpene and Aba-Ossisioma to Port-Harcourt roads must be included in the planned nationwide repair initiative.
With these developments, the Senate has also assigned the yet-to-be-constituted Senate Committee on Works to investigate the contracts awarded for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of these vital road networks.
During Tuesday’s plenary, Senator Darlington Nwokocha (LP-Abia) moved a motion titled “Urgent Need to Investigate the Delay In the Completion of Umuahia-Umudike-Ikot-Ekpene, Aba-Ossisioma to Port-Harcourt Roads.”
Emphasizing the national significance of these roads, Senator Nwokocha highlighted their crucial role in connecting the South-East, South-South, South-West, and Northern geo-political zones of the country.
The senator expressed deep concern over the deteriorating condition of these roads due to unexplained delays in their completion.
He underlined the economic and social importance of the cities of Aba, Umuahia, Uyo, Ikot-Ekpene, and Port-Harcourt, which heavily rely on these road networks.
Furthermore, he shed light on their significance as key arteries for the operations of the Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation Limited (NNPC-Limited), facilitating the nationwide distribution of petroleum products and essential agricultural produce.
Despite the allocation of over N15 billion towards these critical roads, as of April 2023, the Umuahia-Ikot-Ekpene Road had achieved a mere 6% completion rate.
The Aba-Ikot Ekpene and Aba-Port-Harcourt roads, on the other hand, continue to deteriorate, leading to the unfortunate economic stagnation of Aba, a once-thriving commercial hub with over 1000 businesses forced to close down.
If swift action is not taken to address the deplorable state of these roads, the economic hardships and threats to lives and property resulting from the crumbling sections will only worsen.
Recognizing the urgent need for a resolution, the Senate has set a timeline of four weeks for the Senate Committee on Works to investigate the awarding of contracts, assess fund utilization, determine the progress of work, and identify the factors contributing to the delays.
The committee will subsequently report its findings to the Senate, paving the way for necessary legislative action.
The Senate’s call for immediate intervention and thorough investigation aims to restore the functionality of these crucial South-East roadways.
By addressing the pressing concerns surrounding the completion of the Umuahia-Umudike-Ikot-Ekpene and Aba-Ossisioma to Port-Harcourt roads, the government can unlock economic growth, safeguard lives and property, and enhance regional connectivity.
It is imperative for the Ministry of Works and Housing, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, to expedite the repair and rehabilitation of these national assets. The future of South-Eastern Nigeria’s economic prosperity and social development hinges upon the timely and effective resolution of this critical issue.