Residents, motorist and other road users of Ikot Awatim community in Ikot Ansa, Calabar have decried the poor state of the major access road leading to the area.
They say the deplorable state of the road has worsened the social and economic life in the community especially this rainy season, describing the road as terrible and inaccessible.
Speaking with our reporter, the resident pastor of Assemblies of God church Ikot Awatim, Pastor Austin Odey said “the challenges of residing here are enormous and the adverse effect is telling on the people and the community.
“It is affecting churches, businesses and children. For instance, if the road were motorable taxis would have been plying this route, keke and even bike riders; children going to school would have had more comfort.”
Adding that aside small businesses within the area Ikot Awatim road is an easier route to bigger businesses across the area like Calabar tank farm and a military base" there are also establishments across, you have the tank farm, you have the military base and other businesses across that people would have easily passed through Ikot Awatim community to connect their business premises and that would have made work easier. Sometimes I see them trek to cover this long distance from the bus stop all the way down.
According to him, “vehicles that can still access the road are crying to their owners, crying to the government that the road is a problem to them. It is only those who don't have any option that can still drive in and drive out while some persons park at the bus stop and they trek all the way down.
“The situation is affecting everybody; like some church services that church members would have just driven their cars down or just pick a taxi, they will just have to trek a long distance and when it is raining, they may not be able to do that because of the heavy down pour. So the car owners that are here are going through a lot and you know what it means to maintain a vehicle that is going through this kind of road because it was not meant for this kind of situation.”
The pastor pleaded with the state government to remember them and find a way to fix the road to alleviate the sufferings of the people. “Our plea to the government is that they should come to our rescue because that is why they are there. If there is anything the government should do for the citizens, it is to give them clean water, electricity and good roads. My appeal to the government is to remember Ikot Awatim Road.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Kelvin Innocent, a fashion designer in the area has described the challenges facing Ikot Awatim businessmen and residents as sufficient trauma to attract the government’s intervention. He said in an interview that “somebody like me who is sewing, some of my customers are finding it very difficult to come down here because of the bad road.
“Some of them are mobile but they can't drive down here. Like now, we are in rainy season and once it rains, we find it difficult to use our legs up the bus stop because it is always very slippery and you can get yourself knocked down while struggling to climb up the hill.
“We are praying that government should listen to us and help us fix this road so we can have something like keke and taxis running this road because one can use this road from the highway to deploy down to zone six. We have a way in and out here; this road is really affecting the price of things here as we are only selling to people within because nobody comes here to buy from us".