The Ihieme Izuogu autonomous community in Ideato North Local Government Area (LGA) of Imo State has petitioned President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently address the abandonment of the Nnewi Oba Akokwa- Arondizuogu Okigwe road project which is currently in bad shape and has completely shut down economic activities in the community.
Essentially, the road connects some parts of the eastern states including Cross Rivers, Rivers, Abia, Ebonyi and Anambra and played host to several hospitality and agro-allied industries which had now shut down because of the dilapidated condition of the facility.
THISDAY gathered that the strategic road network which rehabilitation had been awarded at the cost of N450 million and N20 million in 2012 and 2013, respectively had become decrepit, abandoned and now a cesspit of kidnapping and armed robbery, forcing hitherto thriving industries to close down.
The rehabilitation programme was being coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Works and had M/S Bulletine Construction Company Nigeria Limited and M/S Doliz Brown Group Limited as contractors.
Traditional Ruler Ihieme Izuogu autonomous community, Dr. Kosmann Ndubuisi Kanu said: "We have suffered so much on the dilapidated nature of this road. For over 15 years now this project has been on-going and nothing is being done about it. I want to say a very big thank you to the president who endorsed that this road be done but as the way it is today, nothing is going on.
We are really in a very big mess in this side of the country. At times it looks to us as if we are being marginalised but we still have the confidence in the president that the fact that he has approved that this road be done. We don't know if the problem is from the contractor or payment but whatever it is let the work be done."
Meanwhile, heavy-duty construction machinery and equipment brought down for the rehabilitation exercise had become moribund having been parked and neglected for several years.
Some of the businesses which had completely closed down as a result of the deplorable road network include Jolly Jones vegetable oil, Safari vegetable oil, Safari hotel, Arondizuogu Rice mill, LNO Obioha Motel and Chimon Hotel limited-all within Arondizuogu.
Kanu, who led a protest over the poor condition of the road said: "It (road) is just this road that connects all this whole places. So we are just appealing to the president that if the contractors are not being paid, please they should be paid. If they are being paid, then they should be compelled to go back to work. Recently, about five months ago, a trailer load of cement plunged into this place killing everybody involved just because of the bad road."