Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Abia State Government says about 60% demolition of structures affected in the proposed six-lane Ossah road expansion project from the Abia Tower Junction of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway to Umuahia City centre have been done.
Commissioner for Information Prince Okey Kanu who disclosed this at a press briefing in Umuahia after the State Executive Council meeting, said Gov. Alex Otti-led administration was fully prepared and committed to the signature road project.
He said that majority of the owners of property marked for demolition on the road had been fully paid their compensation, explaining that anyone yet to get paid could be as a result of hitches in banking transaction.
Gov. Alex Otti, had disclosed that about N771 million had been set aside for payment of compensation.
The Commissioner who said that Otti’s administration was in a hurry to develop the state, disclosed that four additional newly rehabilitated roads were ready for inauguration in Aba.
This is coming less than one month after the Governor inaugurated three roads in the commercial city.
The Commissioner identified the new roads as Jubilee Road, Umuimo Road, Old Express Road and Udeagbara Road, noting that Gov. Otti had already inaugurated three roads completed in Aba by his administration.
He said a number of roads in Umuahia were receiving palliative works to make them motorable pending the award of full rehabilitation work on them.
The Commissioner said palliative work would also commence on Umuahia-Ohafia road in three weeks time.
On the deplorable Aba-Port Harcourt expressway, the Commissioner announced that palliative work would begin on the dual carriage highway in four weeks time.
He said one lane of the highway would be made motorable from Aba to Obigbo border town with Rivers State.
According to him, the intervention is the outcome of the recent visit by the Minister of Works Senator David Umahi to Abia State.
Aba Port Harcourt Expressway from Enyimba Filling Station junction where the current rehabilitation work stopped, to Obigbo border town with Rivers State, has remained a death trap for years.
Despite mounting public outcries, Government seems to have abandoned the people to their fate.
The Commissioner who decried the sorry state of the road said Otti’s administration was making commendable efforts to fix every road in the state.
Adding his voice, the General Manager of Umuahia Capital Development Authority, Mr Kingsley Agomuoh who was present at the briefing, said that many owners of the affected property had confirmed the receipt of payment to him.
Agomuoh who hails from Ossah Ibeku, one of the communities mostly affected, challenged anyone claiming not to have received compensation to meet with him with facts.
He said that some members of the opposition hiding under the guise of property owners to blackmail Government should be ignored.
On the traffic congestion being witnessed on the road due to the on-going demolition exercise, Mr Agomuoh advised motorists to consider alternative roads in the Interim.
Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Kenechukwu Nwosu, said that the Governor had declared a state of emergency on the sector to rebuild it.
The SA said that the State Government had also resolved to pay its counterpart funding to attract the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) funding.