Following consistent pressure mounted by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on the Federal Ministry of Works and the contractor handling the project, Messrs Arab Contractors Limited, an agreement has been reached for the company to commence work on the portion of the highway from Osisioma Junction to Alaoji where the Spare Parts Market is located.
At a meeting on Friday evening at the Governor’s Lodge, Government House Umuahia, between Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and the Federal Controller of Works in Abia State,Engr. Obioha, and a representative of Arab Contractors, it was agreed that work shall commence on that portion effectively from the 23rd of this month and must be completed by the 5th of December 2020.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu had made it clear that if the Federal Ministry of Works failed to order the contractor to that portion in two weeks, he would mobilize a contractor to fix that portion and save the people of Abia State the hellish experience they go through on that portion of the Federal highway.
The Governor stated that trade and commerce which are the key foundations of the Abia economy have come under an imminent threat of total collapse owing to the fact that the Ariaria International Market has become difficult to access, especially by business people from Port Harcourt. Also Abia businessmen who do their businesses in Port Harcourt can no longer travel to do their businesses.
The Governor said he would no longer stand and watch this ugly situation to continue. He also said that work will commence immediately on the portion of Aba- Ikot Ekpene highway that covers Abia State to open up that corridor for our people.
According to the Governor, if not for the wisdom of his administration to do the Umuaro-Ekwereazu Ngwa – Nto Edino road which creates an alternative route into Akwa Ibom State, every element of trade along that corridor would have been lost.
The Federal Controller of Works, Engr Obioha assured the Governor that due to his personal intervention, the contractor had been mandated to temporarily suspend work on other parts of the road and move into that area immediately. He said that they will mobilize into that area from next week and commence work there from the 23rd. He assured the Governor that the portion will be completed expeditiously within two weeks ending on December 5th, 2020.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Works, Barrister Bob Chiedozie Ogu told the Governor that all was set for the commencement of an emergency intervention work on the Aba Ikot Ekpene highway by the State Government, while we wait for the Federal Government to start theirs.
According to the Commissioner, the Governor gave his Ministry marching orders to enter that portion of the Federal road and fix it to enable free movement of goods and persons along that axis.
Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the State, Uche Ihediwa Esq, his Information counterpart, Chief John Okiyi Kalu and the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr ACB Agbazuere were at the meeting.
Sir Onyebuchi Ememanka
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
13th November, 2020.