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Otuocha-Ibaji Road Remain Abandoned Despite N2.5 Billion Spending, Group Laments

By Centus Nweze

The all important Otuocha-Idah-Ibaji trunk road has remained abandoned despite spending over N2.5 billion for the construction of the road, say some stakeholders.

Youths under the aegis of Ibaji Youths of Nigeria (COIYN), an umbrella organization for youths in Ibaji Local Government Area in Kogi, were vociferous on Sunday on this stating that the poor state of the road is responsible for much suffering by people in the areas the road is connected.

They have cried out to the Federal Government to ensure that the Contractor handling the project is brought back to site to complete the road before the arrival of the raining season.

The youth made the appeal at a Peace Summit, organised by the group at Ejule-Onu community in Ibaji on Saturday.

The Chairman of the group Mr. Tony Edike urged the Federal Government through the Hon. Minister, Federal Ministry of Works, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, to give the community a sense of belonging in the country.

The group noted that Ibaji LGA, which was created since 1996, had remained without any motorable road, electricity, functional health facilities and other basic amenities.

He explained that the federal government had on December 2009, awarded a contract for the construction of the Otuocha-Ibaji-Idah road at the sum of N7.2 billion to Nigercat Nigeria Limited.

He noted that N2.5 billion was reportedly released as mobilization fund for the 90-kilometer road project identified as Contract No. C/6024.

”Although about 35 percent of the contract sum had been spent, there is nothing on ground especially within the Ibaji axis that is commensurate with the fund already released.

“We have it on good authority that the contracting firm (Nigercat) which staged a symbolic appearance on site early 2018, has since stopped work and moved its men and materials from site.

”This is after the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing had listed the road among those to be constructed and rehabilitated in 2018,” Edike said.

He made passinate appeal to President Buhari, Fashola, and Kogi Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, to urgently intervene on the road project.
He stressed that the rehabilitation of the road would enable the community, Kogi, and the nation at large to benefit from the vast agricultural produce from Anambra West, Ibaji and Idah local government areas.

”The construction of this road would engender economic, social and political developments within the vast agricultural communities in Anambra and Kogi states.

”The travel time from Anambra to Abuja would be reduced by three hours and thousands of jobs would be created and enhanced accessibility to avalanche of economic activities.

”The annual devastating floods in the area would be controlled through adequate water channels that will arise from construction of medium and large sized bridges on the route among other tangible and intangible benefits”, Edike said.

Also speaking at the summit, Mr Jerry Nwuchola, the President of COIYN, Mrs Mercy Ameh, COIYN Women Leader, and the Secretary Ibaji LG Peace Committee, Mr Joel Ocheja, all urged Ibaji youths to shun armed conflict, hard drugs and other vices that could destroy their future.

Various leaders of the group who spoke at the event, urged the people to live in peace and embrace meaningful economic activities that would enhance their lives and the council.

Earlier, during a courtesy call on the traditional ruler of Ejule-Onu community, Chief Joseph Ogwu, applauded the group for embarking on the peace initiative.

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