Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 14 July 2016 | 3,915 times
There are indications that reconstruction work on Ikot Ekpene and Port Harcourt federal roads criss-crossing the commercial city of Aba in Abia State may soon commence following the visit of African Development Bank (AfDB) to the state.
The delegation from AfDB Headquarters in Abidjan, led by Mr. Mwila Aeron Katambula, the Bank’s Transport Specialist was in the state for the final lap of talks between Abia State Government and AfDB on some developmental projects of interest to the bank in the state.
The delegation, accompanied by another technical team from the Federal Ministry of Works, Abuja which were in Umuahia Tuesday also visited Aba to conduct an on-the-spot assessment of state of the Port Harcourt and Ikot Ekpene roads.
The state Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, who received the team at the Government House Umuahia, told them that Abia State can't wait to see the commencement of reconstruction of some major roads in Aba, especially Port Harcourt road and Ikot Ekpene road. He said Abia has prepared the ground for the AfDB to commence work.
“Road infrastructure is very important to us in Aba,” Ikpeazu said, adding: “Apart from being the commercial nerve centre of Abia, Aba is the Small and Medium Enterprise Centre of Nigeria. Aba is very important to the economy of both Abia and Nigeria.”
Continuing, the Governor said: “So the issue of road infrastructure, waste management and storm water management are the challenges we face in Aba.
“Abia State does not have the resources to do good work at Port Harcourt and Ikot Ekpene roads. With your visit today, you've renewed our hope that help will come very soon and the roads will be fixed.
“On our part, we have tried to do what is required of us in terms of ensuring that the ground work is done to enable AfDB come in.”
Stating their mission, Katambula said: “We are eager to participate in the development of Abia State. Our mission today is a follow up to the meeting we had before. We want to ensure that everything is ready because we want to fast track the projects that the bank will take up in Abia.”
The AfDB and FMW teams later met with the state's Commissioners for Works, Hon. Eziuche Ubani, and that of Finance, Hon. Obinna Oriaku, as well as other top government officials for several hours, after which Ubani led the two teams to Aba for on-the-spot assessment of Port Harcourt and Ikot Ekpene roads.
The inspection tour offered them the opportunity of first hand information about the level of decay of the roads and the trauma and suffering of the residents and travelers on these two key roads.
It was learnt that AfDB is currently doing the technical analysis and studies of the roads before releasing funds for repairs of the roads. “This accounts for why the AfDB team had to come with the FMW team to meet face-to-face with Ikpeazu and his team in Abia,” an official said.
During the visit to Aba, the Commissioner for Works told the AfDB and FMW team that the state government “is desperate to fix roads in Abia, and Aba in particular to stimulate economic activities and drive development across the state.”
“So far we’ve done a good number of roads which fall within the responsibility of the state, but unfortunately, we can't fix federal roads without first agreeing on terms of fixing them with the Federal Government.
“Unfortunately we don’t have the amount of money required to fix these roads, especially Port Harcourt and Ikot Ekpene roads. That is why we are delighted to have the AfDB here together with a team from the Federal Ministry of works, to see the level of deterioration of these roads.”
•Photo shows Eziuche Ubani conducting the AfDB team around.
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