Communities located along the Umuahia (Abia State) and Ikot Ekpene (Akwa Ibom State) federal road have expressed fear over the possible demolition of their structures and farms during its reconstruction.
This followed the imminent commencement of work as announced by the Ikwuano/Umuahia representative in the House of Representatives, Sam Onuigbo at a town hall meeting with the constituents.
He told stakeholders that buildings and crops within the right of way (ROW) on the federal road would be affected by being pulled down and removed to pave way for unfettered access to the contractors.
He said the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, had asked him in writing to address those whose houses or crops might hinder the contract to remove them, stressing that rehabilitating the dilapidated road was in the interest of the Ikwuano/Umuahia people hence he appealed that they corporate with the contractors.
Onuigbo recalled that he convinced the Federal Government through the Ministry of Works to carry out palliative works on the Okwe Oboro part of the road in December 2016 and April 2017.
He added that although the reconstruction contract was awarded in 2019, it was hindered by inadequate release of funds from the Federal Government.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari and Fashola for awarding the contract and appreciated his constituents for their patience.
Commending the lawmaker for facilitating the rehabilitation of the road, the constituents and stakeholders assured the contractor of their cooperation but expressed fear that their houses, shops and economic crops might be demolished without compensation.
Traditional rulers of the area, Eze Agwu Ogbonnaya of Ajata Na Igu Autonomous Community, Ikwuano Council and Eze Sunday Onwubuariri of Azueke Autonomous Community, Umuahia North Council, urged understanding between the contractors and benefiting communities to ensure the success of the project.
On his part, Vice-Chancellor of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Prof. Maduebibisi Ofo Iwe and Chief Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Dr. Azubuike Onyebuchi pleaded with the contractor to not only deliver quality work but also embark on the project within the time frame.