Federal Controller of Works in Edo State, Oke Owhe, has disclosed that the ongoing re-construction of the Benin/Lokoja highway has reached appreciable level over 35.19 per cent.
Owhe, who stated this yesterday during an on-the-spot assessment of works on the highway as well as palliative measures carried out on the existing road from Benin to Auchi, said the road from Benin to Iruekpen axis was in good condition.
“The road was initially scheduled to be completed in 2018. Over 35.19 per cent has been completed, but with the work done so far, the completion will be reviewed,” he said.
Owhe explained that some repairs were carried out on the existing roads in November last year as directed by the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, to make the road motorable pending the completion of the dualisation.
Some of the motorists commended the federal government for the palliative measures carried out on the existing road which has several failed portions, saying the development reduced their suffering on the road.
Meanwhile, residents of Government Housing Estate, Iguosa in Benin City, have expressed fear over the ravaging gully erosion in their community and the attendant threat to lives and property.
The residents equally appealed to Edo State and federal governments to hastily make financial commitment towards the reclamation work to World Bank for work to commence.
A resident, Mr. Jonathan Iweibor, told The Guardian that efforts to ensure reclamation work on the Iguosa Estate by the Edo State government is lip service saying, “In 2017 and 2018, Edo State goavernment used element of seasonal weather to make residents believed that they are sympathetic with the Estate residents that have more than 50 front line houses being submerged by the gully.
“Government has always given an excuse that serious work on the gully cannot be handled in the rainy season and this is the third (3rd ) year running on such excuses and promises that the gully would be fixed in a dry season.”
He added that over 70 houses have caved into the gully since 2014 when the gully menace was first noticed.
Narrating how Residents through the Association of residents of government Housing Estate, an official and administrative organ of the Estate have made, Iweibor said series of attempt to seek audience with the state Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki failed.
“Residents through the Association of residents of government Housing Estate, an official and administrative organ of the Estate have made series of attempt to seek audience with the Governor Godwin Obaseki which he declined by referring the Association Stakeholders to Executive Chairman of Edo State Development Property Authority (EDPA) and the Hon. Commissioner for Environment. “Iweibor said.
Another resident who pleaded anonymity while commenting on the ravaging gully said the European Union investment Bank on 27th September, 2018 visited the gully site with NEWMAP, their agent saddled with the responsibility of planning, designing for an on the spot assessment in their address to the residents, they made it clear that they would not come to fix the gully until government make their finance commitment even though they would have loved to raise the quality of life of the people in this regard.
According to the source,” Since the visit of the European Union Investment Bank in September, 2018 many front line house owners have regrettably relocated to become tenants under very sorrowful circumstance.
“These residents that have relocated include a retired Professor, retired Engineers, retired Matrons from University of Benin and University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) to mention but a few while the Nigerian Police Station building and the building inherited by a
non-employed orphan has collapsed.
One of the motorists, Sunny Omiagbe, a truck driver said the Ekpoma axis of the road has been drivers headache before the palliative measures by the federal government.
“ it used to take us four days before being able to cross the road due to grid lock occasioned by deep gullies on it but since the palliative there is free flow of traffic on the road,” Omiagbe said.