In this day and era of technology and sophistication where people desire good governance laced with the truth, it pertinent to say things as they are and provide the compass for people traveling on the road. This will enable them to make decisions on which road to use in order to enhance a smooth and easy ride or journey as they embark on their movements of survival on daily basis.
The essence is to expose the state of infrastructure in Abia State and elsewhere. In fact, as one checks the healthiness of his/her vehicle preparatory to hit the road, it is necessary for him/her to know the readiness of the road that would host his/her tyres. A city like Aba, with all the commercial hustling and bustling, needs good and decent interconnected network of roads, especially in areas where markets are located.
For instance, in this commercial nerve centre of the state, Brass/Faulks Roads lead to Ariaria International Market. Cemetery/Port Harcourt connect to Cemetery Market. Market/Tenant Roads lead to Ekeoha Market, while Ngwa Road leads to Ahiaohuru/Ngwa Market as well as the Good Morning Market.
Our visit to Ngwa Road in Aba provided us with the opportunity to observe that work is going on in the once dilapidated road. But Hartland Civil Engineering Construction Limited handling the project is yet to complete the project before now apparently because of poor funding or lack of it. Even though the Site Engineer of the project, Engr Kingsley Oha, denied the claim in some quarters, residents recalled that the project was abandoned sometime in July 2021 because of what they described as “paucity of funds as claimed by construction workers”. They added that the contracting firm just returned to site in December 2021.
It should be observed that Ngwa Road is one of the roads in Aba that are being funding by the World Bank through the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), Abia State. However, the release, collection and dispensing of the fund that runs into millions of US Dollars are now subject of controversy and litigation in the court of law. Meanwhile, at the time of our visit, work was still ongoing, but traders are crying that the snail speed approach of the reconstruction exercise was appalling, describing it as “one foot forward and three steps backward”.
“It’s frustrating business here in Ngwa Road”, one trader thundered from across his shop”. “There are not reconstructing it like experts”, another submitted. he continued “debris is brought out from the gutters by the company in the name of working on them and they don’t make efforts to quickly rehabilitate them and close them up”, he added.
Nevertheless, a wheelbarrow pusher, Ugorji Nkwocha, argued that though the government has cleared the gigantic refuse dump at Ngwa Road/Mosque Street junction, some residents were still making attempts to restart the ugly act of dumping refuse there. “Government should order or come hard on the people doing that. Go to Agharandu/Ngwa Road, it’s worst hit. Mosque was opened after the debris was cleared, but they had to close the road because of the illegal toll they were collecting, that made the construction company to block this road”, pointing to the direction of Ngwa Road/ Mosque junction. “Our concern is that my truck and that of my colleagues can’t cross over to Mosque Street and that’s why we’re not making enough money at the end of the day”, he opined.
Mrs Gloria Nweke from Enugu State and a roadside yam roaster/seller, described the project as the best thing that had happened to her business. “Though the project is moving on in the manner of a snail, it has nevertheless, improved on my business. Motorists and Keke can now come here to patronize me unlike before. But one thing that gives me concern is that the day it rained, the whole place was flooded because they blocked the water channels.
But Bright Uwalaka, a worker at Hartland Company, believed that the water presently logging on the street as well as the untidiness of the road will change for good when the drains are unblocked. “Don’t worry; it was done for a purpose”, he assured.
This was however confirmed by Engr Kingsley Oha, the Project Engineer of Hartland who revealed that the reconstruction of Ngwa Road will be extended to Orji Uzor Kalu Bridge and then to Emelogu, and linking Ogbor Hill.
And for Iheme David Okereke, Ude Ibina and Eke I Eke, from Abiriba, the closure of Ngwa Road by East Street has caused untold hardship to those who are doing business on that axis. “If we have a responsive government that reacts to the yearnings of the people, Ngwa Road/East Street junction shouldn’t have been closed. Look at the confusion it’s causing, Keke (tricycles) operators can’t bring people in Ngwa Road to East and verse vice versa. It’s wrong”, they chorused.
At the Good Market, traders like Grace Nwakanma Ogbonna from Obingwa LGA, Mrs Anthonia Ajuonu, Mr Lawrence Kanu, Mrs Angel Uwakwe and Mrs Vicky Innocent complained bitterly about the absence of some speed breakers in the Good Morning Market. “What’s the need of building a road without covering the drains and constructing bumps to forestall over speeding in the vicinity of the market? They queried. The gutters should be covered and bumps erected in front of this market to save lives”, they reasoned.
In all, those that responded to our enquiries said no new architectural design was being constructed in Ngwa Road despite the huge exposure.
Note: Operation See Projects is an assessment programme embarked upon by thewitness magazine to ascertain the projects built by public officeholders both elected and appointed across the nation, particularly in Abia State in the past 8 years and to make out the impact of the projects on the people supposedly the beneficiaries.
The people are the ones to say it the way it is.
Advertise In uchenwosu.com/thewitness: the most investigative and analytical online magazine nigeria can produce for now.
Contact: Hon uche nwosu – 08035766615
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.