Four House of Representatives Members, of the Labour Party extraction, from Enugu state have mover to ensure the immediate rehabilitation of the collapsed 9th mile -Oturkpo highway. The federal highway connects the Northern and Southern Nigeria through Enugu and Benue states.
Adopting a motion co-sponsored by Reps Dennis Nnamdi Agbo (Igboeze North/Udenu), Stainless Nwodo (Igboetiti/Uzo-Uwani), Mark Chidi Obetta (Nsukka/Igboeze south) and Sunday Umeha (Udi/Ezeagu) federal constituencies, the House of Representatives mandated its Committee on Federal Road Maintenance Agency, (FERMA) to urgently carry out remedial rehabilitation works on the failed road portion and restore movement and security of lives of citizens.
The House also directed its Committee on Works to investigate the contract awarded the RCC Engineering Company on the Enugu-Makurdi Road and the progress of the concession arrangement with the Chinese company on the same road.
Leading the debate on behalf of the sponsors, Rep Agbo stressed that urgent remedial intervention on the failed portions of the road by FERMA would no doubt rejuvenate economic activities among the adjoining communities, save huge losses and reverse the heavy toll on human capital.
Titled, ‘Urgent Need to fund the rehabilitation of Oturkpo, Obollo Afor, 9Th Mile Road,’ sponsors of the motion emphasized that the trunk A road remained the main gateway between Northern Nigeria through the Middle Belt to the South.
“This strategic road, with several arterial spurs, is the main route for mass transit, haulage of goods and evacuation of agricultural produce between the South and Northern Nigeria, including the FCT,” they said.
The LP Reps revealed that some sections of the strategic road between Oturkpo in Benue state, Inyi, Amalla and Obollo-Afor, and between Opi, Ukehe and Okpatu in Enugu state have for years become dilapidated, abandoned, and impassable, resulting in travellers having to detour into remote and unsafe ‘appian’ routes, thereby becoming vulnerable and regular victims of armed robbery, extortion and kidnapping.
They also stated that the abandoned section was part of the reconstruction contract awarded to RCC since 2015 that had progressed from the Oturkpo end up to Otukpa, Benue State, (57km) and backward from 9th mile to Okpatu (16km), while the in-between section, account for 74km (or approximately 50% of the Project), was completely abandoned.
The sponsors further added that they were convinced that the contemplation of government to concession the road or adopt any other measure for sustainable management of federal highways, was not to shut down the wellbeing of the citizens as well as their economic and social lives.
“But the worry is that as a result of the concession, the RCC contract has been cancelled and withdrawn such that any hope of immediate attention to this failed road through the contract is dimmed.
“Notwithstanding the desirability of the concession arrangement, the plight of commuters and residents who have endured the harrowing experience along this road for years, must now be addressed without further delay,” Agbo argued. The House further directed its Committee on Legislative Compliance to ensure implementation of its resolution on the road.