The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, says it will collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to repair the failed sections of the Itu-Calabar highway, the only road linking Cross River and Akwa Ibom States.
Speaking after inspecting some bad spots at Itu in Akwa Ibom State on Friday, the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Gbene Dr Joi Nunieh; said the poor condition of the road called for urgent action.
Nunieh, who was represented by the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang, and the Acting Executive Director, Projects, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, assured that the NDDC would make efforts to make the road useable for the Christmas season.
The NDDC inspection team included the Director Project Monitoring and Supervision, Engr Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua; the Acting Director Utilities, Infrastructural Development and Waterways, Engr Fredrick Ogbeide, and NDDC engineers.
Chief Etang said, stating: “The road is very bad. A journey that would have taken like one hour from Uyo to Calabar now takes several hours.”
He noted, however, that the Federal Government had awarded a contract for the reconstruction of the Calabar-Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene federal highway, adding: “We have decided to interface with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to see how we can alleviate the sufferings of our people since this is one of our catchment areas.
“We need to do something quickly because Christmas is fast approaching. We will try as much as we can to make sure we do our best so that people can use this road during the Christmas season.”
A truck driver heading to Port Harcourt from Calabar, Mr Uche Egwuonwu, lamented that his truck fell down at the Itu end because of the deplorable state of the road. He appealed for the urgent intervention of the Federal Government and its agencies.
The NDDC team also inspected the on-going construction of the Emen Ndiya Road in Eket Local Government Area, where they were informed that the contract was awarded in 2012.
The Acting Executive Director of Finance and Administration said that the contractor, who he said returned to the site recently, would be encouraged to complete the project expeditiously.
Chief Etang observed that work on the project had resumed apparently because of the forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He advised other contractors working for the NDDC to go back to the site to execute the jobs given to them by the Commission, warning that any contractor that failed to meet with contractual obligations would be sanctioned and brought to book. He added: “If you have a job with the NDDC, you must execute it promptly or face the consequences.”
A representative of the contractor, Mr Benjamin Joshua, told the NDDC team that the project would be completed within three months.