The Chairman, Senate Ad-hoc Committee on East-West Road, Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi has bemoaned the state of the Calabar-Itu road, calling it the worst road in Nigeria.
Ningi stated this on Tuesday when he was hosted by Prince Bassey Otu, Governor of Cross River at the Dan Archibong Lodge, Temporary Governor’s Office, Calabar.
The Senator who plied the road from Uyo, Akwa Ibom to Calabar said he had never seen and experienced such a road anywhere in the country.
“I have never seen and experienced what we saw on that road anywhere. Thousands of trucks are stuck in traffic with little or no motion. If we didn’t have the military with us and even at that, we would spend over six hours plus on a major highway.
“So, I believe that something urgent needs to be done including the fifth and final stage of the East-West Road which is the Calabar-Oron end of the road.
“Yes there is an infrastructural deficit across the country but what we witnessed, was something else on that road,” Ningi bemoaned
He said the East-West Road which is supposed to represent fairness and justice of a major economic hub of the country has not met that aspiration even by four succeeding presidents starting from Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’adua, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari.
“We have traversed the East-West Road from Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and now Cross River, it is disturbing what we have found in the course of this assignment, the inability of the overseeing agencies of government to come together and give the road the much-needed attention.
“There is a complete lack of synergy between the NDDC, Federal Ministry of Works, FERMA and the states which the road passes through.
“After the first leg of this assignment, we are going to have a 2-day public hearing on why the East-West Road has remained as it is uncompleted. Who are the contractors, what have they received, so that people will not just collect money from the federal government and disappear,” Ningi said.
Governor Otu on the other hand said the East-West Road is one of the critical infrastructures that have been left to decay while making a case for more funding for the state.
“The East-West Road is one of the several critical infrastructures that have been left to decay in our country over time. Even in this period of palliatives, if there is anything worse than not having the palliatives, then it is when the main arteries that connect the state and should help in carrying the palliatives are not there,” Otu told the Senator Abdul Ningi-led committee.
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Speaking further, Governor Otu said there was a need for modifications to the East-West Road drawings into Calabar to avoid traffic snarls as witnessed in some major cities in the country.
The governor used the opportunity to draw attention to the Calabar-Ogoja Expressway, which he said, was in no better shape and expressed the confidence that the President Tinubu administration will rise to the occasion and provide the much-needed infrastructural repairs and upgrades.
Also, Senator Otu noted that Cross River State has suffered over the Green Tree Treaty which ceded part of the state to a foreign country leading to loss of its littoral assets.
“We have borne and bearing the pain of the country over the Greentree Agreement and it is only fair that Nigeria does right by our state. We need more interventions and my hope is that your committee, though ad-hoc in nature, will present our case to the Senate and ease our burden,” he said.
Some members of the Senate team include Senator Ikra Bilbis, the clerk of the Committee, Foluke Ogunbayo, the South-South Zonal Director of the Federal Ministry of Works, Engr. Clement Ogbuagu, amongst others.