Raymond Ozoji in Awka on the House Committee reports on bad roads in Anambra State and its call to action to prevent accidental deaths
Anambra State House of Assembly Committee on Works has observed that the state may record more deaths from growing number of bad roads in the state unless urgent attention is paid to the situation.
The committee made the observation while on over-sight function on road inspection in some parts of Anambra State. Worried about the way and manner contractors have handled road construction projects in state, the committee maintained that there is a dire need for the works committee to be armed with the information contained in the contractual paper and bill of quantities respectively so as to determine whether road construction projects are executed in line with contractual agreements and specifications.
Speaking on this sorry state of affairs, Chairman of the Anambra State House of Assembly Committee on Works Hon. Ikechukwu Umeh said in the course of the over-sight duty at Okacha junction in Neni Anaocha Local Government Area, the committee came to the conclusion that contractors should be compelled to re-execute any road project done haphazardly.
Hon. Umeh maintained that some road projects executed in the state are substandard and in contrast with terms and conditions guiding such projects.
The lawmaker expressed great worry that the Neni-Awka-etiti- Ichida-Adazi-enu road, which is of economic and social importance to communities in the area is already in very deplorable condition soon after it was constructed. At Okacha junction in Neni , the committee wondered why a culvert on a major state road connecting Nnewi, Awka and other parts of Anambra, should be left open by the contractor that constructed the culvert thereby constituting death-trap to commuters using the road. Besides, the residents in the area brought to the knowledge of the lawmakers that the contractor handling the road project in the area blocked a water channel that controls flood in the area. Ever since the drainage system was blocked by the contractor, flood has continued to cause mayhem and economic hardship at Okacha junction Neni.
According to the Umeh, the drainage system on both sides of the road has no reinforcement and fortification, adding that the quality of the mixture used during construction is nothing to write home about.
To this end, he stated that the contractor that handled Neni-Awka- etiti-Ichida-Adazi-enu state road should be called to order and made to understand the consequences of executing a shoddy job after being mobilised adequately by the state government.
He also called for maintenance action on the roads especially as the festive season approaches. He was equally of the opinion that the state commissioner for works as well as the Anambra State Road Maintenance Agency should rise up to the situation and save Anambra from incurring more deaths as a result of bad roads. Hon. Umeh however stressed the need for the contractor to be called back to site to re-execute the project so that commuters will not die carelessly at night due to the bad culvert on the major road.
The over-sight visit also took the committee to the Uga-Nnewi-Okigwe federal highway where the committee expressed deep concern about the non-chalant attitude of the federal government towards the road. The lawmakers complained that the road has not been motorable for more than 15 years and that the road has always been in the budget every year but the allocations meant for revamping and rehabilitating the road has continued to be siphoned through a conduit pipe. The Uga-Nnewi-Okigwe federal highway which is said to be about 40 kilometre road, the lawmakers said is strategic and also has economic advantage as it connects communities and villages in the southeast and south south geo-political zone of the country . The lawmakers therefore remonstrated that since 1999 , Uga-Nnewi- Okigwe road has not received federal government attention as it has completely been abandoned and forgotten by the government of the federation
. Although the committee said it will liase with federal lawmakers of southeast extraction to find out what has been happening to all the funds allocated for the construction and rehabilitation of the Uga-Nnewi- Okigwe road .
On the other hand a member of the works committee and lawmaker representing Anaocha State Constituency Hon.Charles Chukwuma Ezeani decried the rate of poor road construction in Anambra State .
Hon.Ezeani explained that the culvert at Okacha junction mentioned earlier here-in is supposed to protect the drainage system and water channel but according to him the reverse seems to be the case as the culvert in question is already on the verge of colapse stressing that the pre-cast on the culvert is not strong enough to carry heavy duty vehicles . This situation the lawmaker said has claimed many lives at Okacha junction Neni including numerous others hospitalised as a result of the danger the culvert now poses to motorists . Hon.Ezeani who had earlier moved a motion on the floor of the state assembly drawing the attention of the state governor to the bad state of the culvert at Okacha junction Neni and other death-spots in the area , said that the contractor who constructed the culvert at Okacha junction Neni should be made to answer questions on why that portion of the road has become a death-spot .
In order to ameliorate the situation , Governor Willie Obiano recently flagged off Operation No Potholes In Anambra where in the Anambra State Road Maintenance Agency was mandated to embark on palliative works on all the roads in the state especially as the Christmas season approaches so as to have smooth flow of traffic in the state .