The Federal Government yesterday flagged off the rehabilitation project of the Enugu-Abakaliki road promising that when completed, the road will substantially improve the movement of people goods and services as well as considerably reducing travel time, vehicle operating cost and traffic related fatalities among others.
Performing the flag off ceremony, the Minister of Works, Architect Mike Onolomemen stated that the project was also an integral part of the Transport facilitation programme (TFP) for the Bamenda-Enugu Road corridor which leads to the Republic of Cameroun. The Minister who was represented by the Minister of State for Works, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda promised that the project which is co-financed by the World Bank and the Federal Government at the ration of 9-1 will be delivered within the scheduled 24 months.
He warned both the contractors and the Road Sector Development Team (RSDT) which oversees the federal roads development projects of the World Bank to dedicate themselves to meeting this deadline and ensure that the quality of work to be done was guaranteed. The Minister who was accompanied by the Chairmen of the Senate and House Committees on Works Senator Ayogu Eze and Hon Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State Hon Dave Umahi paid courtesy call on Governor Sullivan Chime at the Enugu Government House.
The Enugu Governor while expressing his gratitude to the federal government over the project used the occasion to restate his displeasure at the slow pace and quality of work being done by contractors on both the Enugu-Onitsha road and the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressways. He expressed dismay that it was taking up to eight years to fix the roads adding that the impact of the new road project would not be fully felt if the other roads remained in dilapidated states.
Governor Chime further lamented that the Federal government had turned down a request by south east Governors to take over the roads and be reimbursed and wondered why the carnage and damage being suffered by users of the roads should be allowed to continue. Also speaking, Senator Eze promised that the National Assembly would closely monitor the implementation of the Enugu-Abakaliki road project to ensure that it met all expectations adding that provision will be made in the next budget for the its dualisation as well as Ninth Mile –Lokoja road. He added that the design for the Ninth Mile –Makurdi-Oturkpo-Keffi road had been completed and was awaiting implementation.