By AFAM Echi
Motorists commuting from Owerri and passing through Okigwe road to other parts of Imo State and beyond have been having a nightmarish experience in their journey, no thanks to the bad spot at Ekemele in Akabo, Ikeduru local government area.
The notorious bad spot which takes a toll on the people impacts more during the rainy season when there are constant rains. It has increased the hardship of the people in more ways than one.
The increased transport fare occasioned by the bad spot has added to weigh down more the poor citizens that ply the route. The wear and tear suffered by the vehicles and the sudden unexpected damages resulting from going through the area have sent many vehicles to mechanics with huge costs.
The man hours lost in traffic congestion, the anxiety generated from standing at a spot have also cost many people very important business opportunities as well as impacting negatively on productivity.
Transporters and other private users who seek alternative routes by navigating through the village roads to access the major routes have suffered paying tolls to the youths who mount numerous toll points few metres in between and fleecing the road users who apparently have no choice. Some have been robbed in some situations using the unpopular village roads.
Worst hit by the effect of the bad road are people going to nearby communities like Ogwa, Atta, Uzoagba, and other towns along the routes to Okigwe, Mbano and Enugu who must pass this spot or seek longer routes. A female car owner who spoke to Saturday Nigerian Horn said it is better for her to take the longer Owerri-Ugba junction through Umuahia to Okigwe than go through the hell of Ekemele bad spot.
Some who travel to Ogwa now find alternative route through Orodo, another neighbouring community. The disadvantage is that they go through longer routes and are forced to pay higher than they are used to. At some times depending on the disposition of the transporters Ogwa passengers have had to pay N500 as against N250 for bus or N300 for taxis.
The nightmarish experience is an annual ritual every rainy season but sadly past governments appear not to have any lasting solutions to the challenge. At best government response has been only palliative as it barely scratches the issue.
Saturday Nigerian Horn investigations also revealed that the representative of Ikeduru in the state House of Assembly Hon Uche Ogbuagu has made strong promise to his constituents among other efforts to find lasting solution to the challenge. This was followed by a palliative measure during which stones and sands were poured to stem the challenge but it appears all were to no avail.
It was also learnt that this is one of the roads that have been marked by the state government for reconstruction as soon as the rains stop. The bad state of the roads however has attracted numerous comments from all and sundry.
Emeka Ahaneku, publisher of Imo Breaking News had this to say, ‘we are faced with a terrible situation in Imo State and must fix it, Decisive steps to find a lasting solution are now urgent, so I urge the state government to undertake repairs and filling of pot holes and bad spots to cushion our road tragedy before engaging in major construction works after the rains’’
Ukachukwu Igboamusi had to query the benefits of paying for road worthiness and other charges when there is no road to pass. He faulted both the federal and state governments.
In his words, “this is the state of Ekemele Akabo this evening that it didn’t rain. Mr President and Mr. Governor, I hail una. Nigerians are intimidated and forced to pay for road worthiness paper during the time of renewing their vehicle particulars and yet no road. Let me say that the road is far from the President but what about the Governor and his men who are very close to the road. This is what innocent citizens are compelled to go through on daily basis, I weep for giant of Africa ruled by self-acclaimed technocrats. What a shame!’’