Aggrieved residents of Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, have called for the immediate rehabilitation of the Eleme axis of the East-West Road and construction of the dilapidated Aleto Bridge.
This call was made following the worsening state of the road, which has become a deathtrap.
Exactly two years ago, angry youths of Eleme shut down the Eleme axis of the East-West Road in Port Harcourt on a protest, demanding the immediate intervention of the federal government to rescue the collapsing road.
The youths with various placards were protesting the failure of the Nigerian government to fix the road connecting to some local government like Eleme, Tai, Gokana, Khana, Andoni and Opobo Nkoro respectively, it even link to neighboring states like; Akwa Ibom, Cross River, among other areas.
Companies such as Eleme Petrochemical/Indorama, Nigeria Ports Authority, Port Harcourt Refinery Company and other military establishments are located along the stretch of that road.
Till date, the road has remained a deathtrap, with some sections completely impassable, leading to continual collapse and break down of trucks and smaller vehicles, as well as heavy traffic gridlock.
Heartbreaking of all, is the loss of lives recorded on that road, which is a major route in the South-South region.
Decrying the ordeal citizens face on that road, Chairman of Eleme LGA, Chief Obarilomate Ollor, gave the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited NNPC, 14 days to release funds for construction of the road or face the action of the people.
Obarilomate expressed total disgust at the level of pain and suffering the people of Eleme and other road users go through while using the Eleme axis of the East West Road.
Describing the road as nearly useable, the chairman frowned at the attitude and delay by the NNPCL to adhere to the directive of the Federal government to release funds for the full construction of the road.
The Eleme Council Boss noted that, “the road is at its worst state ever and has now become a deathtrap and source of economic crisis for citizenry following recent accidents, loss of man power due to the gridlock experienced.”
He continued that his efforts in making sure the road was fixed, including meeting the former Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, led to the point where the immediate past administration gave final approval for the construction of the road during its FEC meeting and a further directive to NNPCL to fund the project through its tax credit scheme.
He further added, “I am appealing to NNPCL to release the funds between now and end of the month to avoid any action from the people, we want to see RCC mobilized to site within the next two weeks, our people are suffering, dying, losing their jobs because gridlock, we cannot continue to keep quiet to see this happen in our place, we are not insensitive to our people’s plight, we want action taken quickly”.
The chairman disclosed that from his interface with the company to carry out the construction, RCC, all that is remaining was mobilization to site.
He commended the Senator of Rivers South East Senatorial district, Senator Barry Mpigi and the Member representing Eleme, Tai, Oyigbo in the House of Reps, Hon. Felix Nwaeke, for bringing the issue before the floor of the Red and Green Chamber.
He also appreciated other stakeholders within the zone who he said have made efforts to ensure the road is fixed.