The Deplorable Condition Of Edeobom, Afaha Abia, Ikot Obio Asanga, Ikot Odiong, Ikot Ekang Road : A Disaster To Economic, Security And Social Sustainability.

 

By Uwem Ekoh

It is a clear fact that most roads constructed in the former Cross River State, particularly in Akwa Ibom State between 60s and 90s are either impassable, poorly maintained or untarred.

Quality road infrastructure provides flexible and mobility of workforce from one location to another and also gives credence to good governance and public welfare.

Unarguably, good road network in any city or community gives citizens a sense of belonging, better life style, lowers production cost and raises productivity, especially, in the agricultural sector where transportation of crops and other commodities to consumers is a major factor in the production chain. But in the reverse, the age-long predicament of the deplorable road spanning through Urua Utuat in Edeobom, Afaha Abia, Ikot Obio Asanga, Ikot Odiong all in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area and Ikot Ekang in Etinan Local Government Area calls for an urgent intervention by the Akwa Ibom State Government or the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

No doubt, successive governments in Akwa Ibom State had provided good roads in most parts of the state, including the Governor Umo Eno’s led administration to citizens as it is the responsibility of any government to give its citizens the basic amenities including, good road network to improve their well being.

Socio economic activities in these parts of Nsit Ibom and Etinan Local Government Areas have suffered major setback in recent time because of the prevailing condition of the road linking the two Local Government Areas.

Nsit Ibom Local Government Area is in Etinan Federal Constituency of Uyo Senatorial District of the State and it was created from Etinan Local Government Area many decades ago.

Interestingly, the two Local Government Areas share common boundaries, political interests, social relationships such as marriage and business. But the road in question is now at the state of disrepair causing serious barrier to this affinity that had existed long time ago, hence, making live unbearable for residents of these communities.

The ancient bridge ( otherwise, called Garman Bridge then) between Ikot Odiong and Ikot Ekang in Nsit Ibom and Etinan Local Government Areas respectively has become a death trap for people and the environment is gradually becoming a den for criminal activities by young men.

Police and other security operatives cannot carry out their duties in these communities owning to the bad road

Farming and other economic activities between the two local government areas have since stopped because of the bad condition of the road

This urgly development calls for serious attention as it poses major security threat and danger to the community. Criminals and hoodlums may turn the community to their hideout since there is no quality road for security checks.

A team of Journalists who were on the spot assessment of the aforementioned road recently can authoritative report that the road is in a deplorable state and has caused untold hardship and endenger the lives of the people.

This road which is described as economic road is among the important public assets that one can travel from Owot Uta in Ibeskpo Asutan Local Government Area straight to Ikot Ekang in Etinan Local Government Area within few minutes today, the pains, agony and challenges of this neglected road are becoming worrisome and embarrassing to citizens.

This road needs to be fixed as a matter concern in order to give immediate benefits to the road users for comfort, speed, safety and will in large extent reduce motor bikes and vehicles operating cost to the bearest minimum.

The Member representating Etinan State Constituency, Hon Uduak Ekpo-Ufot in his remarks expressed worry over the poor state of the road.

He believed that the road linking the two Local Government Areas has denied the people a sense of belonging and economy activities between Ikot Ekang in Etinan Local Government Area and the neighbouring Ikot Odiong and its environs in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area are completely dead.

He said, “I know His Excellency, the Governor has good plans for the people of Etinan and the state at large, I appeal to the State Government and the NDDC to see how the road can be fixed as a matter of importance in order to make live more meaningful to the people”.

When contacted, the Transition Chairman of Nsit Ibom, Mrs Aaron refused to comment on the poor condition of the road but rather added that she will not like to mount pressure on the Governor for anything since she remains an appointee of the Governor.

Baring his mind on the poor state of the road, the immediate past member representing Nsit Ibom State House of Assembly, Hon Ifiok Udoh disclosed that as a Lawmaker, he sponsored four motions while in the House for the construction of four roads in the area including the Afaha Abia/ Ikot Ekang road.

He regretted that his motions did not fly for some reasons he did not want to explain but further believed that the road when rehabilitated will attract meaningful development to the communities as well as boast the economy of the people.

He appealed to relavant authorities to address the bad shape of the road so as to make life better for citizens.

A renowned Business man in Etinan, Mr Bassey A. Etuk described the road as death trap and hoped that the Governor would consider the road in due time.
Etuk further maintained that one of the cardinal focuses of the state government is to attract massive infrastructures across the state in line with the ARISE Agenda of the Governor and was confidenced the road will be giving a facelift for people to enjoy the good governance of Governor Umo Eno.

Speaking in his Palace, the Village Head of Afaha Abia, Eteidung Monday Johnny Ekpo expressed worry over lack of access road to the community.

He lamented that the poor road network has denied them maximum comfort and quality life style especially, in the current economic hardship in the country, adding that his subjects can no longer do business to cater for their families.

He said, lack of access road has caused his people to run away from the community and used the medium to beg to the Governor, Pastor Umo Eno to intervene by constructing the road for them in order to give them a sense of belonging. Eteidung Monday Johnny Ekpo requested for the repair of the road in honour of the late Paramount Ruler of the area, HRM late. Edidem Effiong Jimmy Iyawot who was from Afaha Abia.

On his part, the village head of Ikot Obio Asanga, Eteidung Emmanuel Usoro also expressed displeasure over the poor state of the road passing through his village.

He believed that the solution of Ikot Obio Asanga and its environs will be solved when the road is constructed.

Eteidung Usoro hoped the Governor whom he described as a listening leader will listen to their cry.

In the same vain, the village head of Ikot Ekang in Etinan, His Highness, Eteidung Ekere Jonathan Akpan said, despite fervent plea through letters by the affected village heads and concerned citizens of the two communities to the previous administrations to work on the road, yielded no positive results.

He noted with concern that the boarder communities are no longer connected, farm and other businesses have been truncated because of no access road to the two Local Government Areas and assured that he will mobilise his youths to support the construction of the road anytime contract is awarded.

Also, a former Executive Director of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Jos, Obong (Elder) Joseph Etuk, who is a stakeholder in the area lamented over the neglected road and wondered why contract for the World Bank project (RAMMP which is ongoing) would stop at Urau Utuat, believing that the World Bank project should have been extended to Ikot Ekang in Etinan.

The Political Leader of Mbiaso Ward 5, Barr Samuel Awakessien, who is from the community was worried over the poor road network in his community.
He said, they have been completely cutoff from other communities especially, Etinan Local Government Area and hoped that the road when fixed will return social and economic activities in the community.

Other indegenes of Ikot Odiong, Mr Emmanuel Godwin Umoh and Mr Ubong Etim from Ikot Ekang in Etinan decried the poor condition of the road linking the two villages.

They noted with dismay that lack of good road has affected them in many ways, as according to them, economic activities in the popular Urua Ekponwa in Nsit Ibom have reduced drastically.

They called on the NDDC and the Akwa Ibom State Government to provide them the access road. They also appealed to the Senator Representating Uyo Senatorial District and Member Representating them in the House of Representatives, Senator Aniekan Bassey and Obong (Hon) Paul Ekpo to liase with relavant authorities for immediate action so that they can continue to do their businesses and live a good life.

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