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Forum tasks FG on infrastructure

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Ndigbo United Forum (NUF) has raised the alarm over the state of federal infrastructure in the South East.

In an open letter addressed to the Federal Government through the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, the group said the lopsided distribution of infrastructure is a major factor fanning agitation in the region.

Board of Trustees (BoT) Chairman, Chief Chinedu Mba, who signed the letter, said the infrastructural deficit is mostly pronounced in federal roads.

The letter, dated August 14, reads: “The South East region of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states is one of the six geopolitical zones that make up Nigeria. It is, therefore, an integral and bona fide part of Nigeria, which is ideally on the same pedestal with her five counterparts – South West, South -South, North Central, North West and North East.

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“All the entitlements, accrual from the collective national resources/coffers, are supposed to be evenly distributed. Whatever the other five get, the South East is supposed to get in equal measure. But unfortunately, what is ideally obtainable is not being practised. The selective and huge infrastructural deficit in South East Nigeria is evidentially clear. This infrastructural deficit is mostly pronounced in the length and nature of federal roads in the region.”

It states further: “Honourable Minister, may we clearly assert that the lopsided infrastructural distribution, constitutes a major factor in the rising agitation in South East Nigeria. Injustice, unhealthy favouritism, apparent and real neglect of a major zone etc., have all distilled into justified anger and agitation within Ndigbo, especially the youths.

“Road networks constitute a major visible sign of infrastructural development. And what we have in the South East is completely below all known standards. Federal roads in the South East are either in a complete state of disrepair or are stark death traps, perpetually endangering road users.

“Is it the Arochukwu–Ikot Ekpene road or the Okigwe–Owerri road? Enugu–Onitsha road is a no-go area, regardless of repair works ongoing there. Virtually, all the federal roads in the South East are comatose. It is not enough that among the six geopolitical zones, in terms of overall kilometres in length of federal roads, the South East has, by far, the least. The North West region has more than three times what we have here.”

“Yet, ours are constantly in deadly shapes. The only federal road that is in a fair condition is one lane of the Port Harcourt-Enugu Road where good repair work is still ongoing, courtesy of the Sukuk Fund. The repair works on Enugu-Onitsha Road is nothing to write home about.”

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