The Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, has expressed surprise that some officials of Federal Government do not want the state government to fix the bad spot on the Benin/Onitsha Expressway, just after Asaba, stressing that road users are crying because the road is a major gateway to the South-East.
It would be recalled that the Delta State government’s interventionist agency, the Direct Labour Agency (DLA), had mobilized to the area, located just before the Asaba end of the Niger bridge, shortly after the visit of the Minister of Works, Mr. Raji Fashola to the state, but were chased out by officials of the Federal government.
The second attempt to fix the road was made again last week to reduce the loss of man-hours and resources by commuters who spend hours on the road as a result of the bad spot, but officials of Julius Berger Plc who were brandishing contract documents again insisted that the Delta State government cannot work on the road, as the state had no valid contract to do such.
The Commissioner for Information in the state, Mr. Patrick Ukah, who confirmed the incident, described it as unfortunate, adding that the Delta State government had been compelled to address the failed portion of the road, with the intent to reduce the rates of accidents, save lives and property and reduce time spent on the roads, for travelers on that route.
According to him, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration, since inception, has not discriminated in the provision of infrastructure in any part of the state, especially, in the area of fixing of roads.
Good road network is very important to the socio-economic development of the people, the Information Commissioner said, recalling that the governor ensured that the Warri/Benin expressway, which was cut off, was fixed as he ensured a lasting solution to the failed portions on that road.
Mr. Ukah revealed that the Delta State government also fixed the bad portions on Asaba/Ughelli road, which was almost cut into two just after Ogwashi-Uku, even though it is a federal road and would have started work on the Asaba/Illah road but had to pause as the road needs total overhaul and asphalting and prayed that the Federal Government will begin work on that road soon because it reduces traveling time from the South East to the North.
Ukah further disclosed that twice the DLA had mobilized to fix that road but were chased out by officials of Julius Berger Plc who said they have the contract to work on the road.
The Information Commissioner, who then appealed to the federal government to look at the roads in Delta State, especially those areas that need urgent attention, however hinted that the nightmare witnessed by motorists and commuters on the Benin/Onitsha expressway as a result of the failed portion of the road may continue, if immediate action is not taken and attempts by the Delta State government to fix the road continue to be resisted by officials of the Federal government.