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CLO seeks completion of Ikot Ekpene-Itu-Calabar road

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The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Akwa Ibom State Branch, has expressed its deepest concern over the deplorable state of the Ikot Ekpene-Itu-Calabar Federal Highway and urged the Federal Government to mobilise contractors to site before the Christmas season.

Chairman of the body, Mr. Franklyn Isong, who spoke with newsmen yesterday in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, noted that it was by so doing that the plight of road users would be ameliorated.

The Federal Government prior to the general elections in February this year had awarded the construction of the road to Julius Berger. The company started work only to leave the site immediately after the general elections and since then, work had been halted at the site, thereby leaving the road in a deplorable condition.

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However, The Guardian learnt that the mobilisation fee approved for the project had not been fully released.

The CLO chairman, who noted that almost all the federal roads in the state are impassable, said: “As part of our civic responsibilities, the Civil Liberties Organisation, expresses its concern over the deplorable state of the Ikot-Ekpene-Itu-Calabar Federal Highway. We call on the Federal Government to immediately mobilise contractors to site before the Christmas season to ameliorate the untold hardship of the road users.

“The Ikot-Ekpene-Itu-Calabar Federal Highway, which is the only link road between Akwa Ibom and Cross River states, has been left to suffer various stages of degradation which has culminated in its current deplorable impassable state with various segments of the road eaten off by gully erosion while large chunks of the road now constitute death traps to motorists and commuters leading to loss of many lives.

“A journey on the road from Uyo to Calabar, which naturally should be accomplished within one hour, now takes up to six or seven hours. The cost in terms of man-hours and damage to vehicles is better imagined than experienced. The cost to economies of Akwa Ibom and Cross River states, as well as Nigeria in general, is gargantuan.”

According to the pro-democracy group, when the road was first captured in the budget of the present administration, the people of the area were happy with wild celebrations but wondered why the project had to stop after the general elections in the country.

The CLO, which alleged that the Federal Government was playing politics in the award of the road contract, said: “The condition of the road has since worsened, and motorists and vehicles are writhing in pains on the road. Transport fares on the road have quadrupled and travelling on the road is a nightmare. The prices of agricultural products in Akwa Ibom and Cross River states have skyrocketed on account of the deplorable nature of this very important road.”

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