It is no longer news that Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, has the worst network of roads in the country and this malady did not start today.
The situation was so bad that some years ago, lawyers in the city under the aegis of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Aba branch, matched round the city in protest of the deplorable and debilitating nature of the roads.
Although the present administration of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has tried to fix few of the roads, the effort is just like taking away a tea spoon full of water from a pond.
The problem still remains huge owing by years of neglect by the previous administration.
Fretted by the poor state of both Federal and state roads in Aba, Abia State House of Assembly ad-hoc Committee on
Works recently visited the commercial city for on-the-spot assessment.
Marveled by what they saw, they fell short of calling on the Federal Government to declare the city a disaster area.
The committee nevertheless called on the Federal Government to intervene by reconstructing some of the roads in the area.
This, the committee said, was to alleviate the sufferings of residents of the area.
The ad-hoc committee’s visit and subsequent interjectory call was sequel to a motion for an urgent public importance moved on May 24, 2016 by Hon Emmanuel Clinton Ebere, member representing Aba South State Constituency in the state Assembly to the effect of the deplorable state of roads in his constituency.
The motion reads in part: “That the House embarks on on-the-spot assessment of the affected roads all in Aba South State Constituency with a view to finding a lasting solution to the problem in order to reduce the sufferings of the people.
“That the state government should as a matter of urgency prioritize the rehabilitation of abandoned roads in Aba South in order to give the people a sense of belonging”.
Consequent upon this, the House set up the ad-hoc committee and directed it to embark on on-the-spot assessment and report back to the House in two weeks.
During the committee’s tour, members visited Ohanku, Obohia, Port Harcourt, Osusu, Omuma and Uratta roads to ascertain their levels of decay.
Speaking after the visit, the sponsor of the bill, Hon Ebere said he was forced to bring the state of the deplorable condition of the roads in his constituency on the floor of the House because the roads abandoned by the previous government in the state have made it difficult for his constituents to access their homes when there was a downpour.
Decrying the poor state of roads in the area, the lawmaker regretted that the major markets which contribute immensely to the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state were located in his constituency.
In shedding more light on the problem, the lawmaker said: “Sometime in July last year, one of my constituents died and relations had to carry him on bare hands because an ambulance was stationed but it could not access the road.
“Again, some weeks ago, a 13-year-old boy failed into a gutter and would have drowned if people had not rescued him on time. Based on these, my constituents are now beginning to ask themselves if they are still part of Abia State.”
Speaking after the inspection, the leader of the delegation, Solomon Okogbue while admitting that the people of the area were suffering as a result of bad roads, appealed for Federal Government’s intervention, especially in rehabilitating the federal roads in the city.
He cited the paucity of funds as the major problem the state government was facing in rehabilitating roads in Aba, adding that their visit to the city was not going to be a waste.
He said about 90 per cent of roads in Aba were captured in this year’s budget and urged the state government to add more bite in its roads rehabilitation drive.
Another member of the three-man ad-hoc committee, Hon Mezie Nwaubani said that they came to Aba as directed by the House following Ebere’s motion, to see things for themselves.
He said that they have seen the state of dilapidation of the roads inspected and would report their findings back to the House, while urging residents to exercise patience.