Friday, February 17, 2017 7:37 am
A coalition of civil society and other groups, under the aegis of Ekpoma Concerned Stakeholders Forum, Thursday protested the deplorable state of the Expoma axis of Benin-Auchi-Okene highway and other roads within the Esan West local government area of Edo State.
The Forum, made up of members of Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) Senior Staff Association of Nigerian University (SSANU) National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), private legal practitioners and indigienes of the community, blocked the highway, just as they called on the federal and state governments to fix the failed portions of the highway and other roads within the local government area.
Spokesperson for the Forum, Mr Monday Igbafe, who is the Chairman of ASUU, Ambrose Alli University (AAU) branch, said the failed portion of the Ekpoma axis of the highway has become a source of nightmare to residents and motorists in the area.
He noted that “the inabilibity of the federal government to fix the failed portion of the road is of great concern to the Forum. This is an important road linking many communities in the area.
“The protest is the first step in line with our strategic action to draw the attention of relevant government agencies to our deplorable roads.
“Government must take urgent steps to address the bad state of the road before the rains set in,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr. Elias Owobu, Chairman, National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Ekpoma, said that failure of the federal government to fix the highway resulted in the collapse of township roads in Ekpoma, as articulated vehicles now divert to the township roads.
“We decided to set today aside to draw government attention to the bad situation of roads in Ekopma. We are hiegthened by the fact that we are expecting rain to set in any moment from now, and you know the consequences of that.
“For some of us who were here last year, you understand that because of the pressure on this road that made articulated vehicles to pass through the Ekpoma township roads and as you can see, there are no good roads in Ekpoma town anymore.
“So, we are saying that if we allow rain to set in, allow situation on ground as it is now to remain, I can assure you that Ekpoma will be cut off from other communities.
“This is the time for government to quickly come to our rescue and we are urging the federal and state governments to fix the road,” he said.
On his part, Mr. Jude Obasanme, an activist, disclosed that roads connecting the communities to other villages had been completely neglected by the government.
“In the area of road construction, Ekopma have been completely neglected by the previous administrations.
“We appeal to the state government to give serious attention to the construction of Ekpoma township road. A situation where one cannot access roads is not too good. Several appeals had been made to relevant authorities about the menace posed by the erosion.
“We are appealing to the government to find permanent solution to the road. Urgent measures must be taken to prevent the roads from total collapse,” he said.C