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Group tasks FG on concessioning of Calabar-Itu highway

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Buhari. Photo: TWITTER/NIGERIAGOV

The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) has charged the Federal Government to include the dilapidated Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene highway among federal roads the Federal Ministry of Works recently slated for concessioning.

Its Chairman in Akwa Ibom State, Franklin Isong, stated this while fielding questions from journalists in Uyo yesterday, saying the call became necessary as the National Assembly had failed to make adequate budgetary provision for the highway since the contract for its reconstruction was awarded.

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He said the road had been politicised and had become a death trap, wondering why federal roads in Akwa Ibom State were left in such a state of dilapidation and neglect, even as the state was contributing the highest amount to the Federation’s Account.

He commended the Federal Government initiative to concession some federal highways to private investors to boost their maintenance, stressing that the rehabilitation of the highway would save commuters from hardship and boost the socio-economic fortunes of Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.

“So we appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in our federal roads. We don’t know why the Calabar-Itu road was not captured in Federal Government’s concessioning plan.”

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But we are saying that should be priorised, whatever it takes,” he said.

He decried the hardship being faced by commuters, especially female traders, who had been transporting foodstuff from northern Cross River to Akwa Ibom and other parts of the country in the last 25 years.

Isong lamented that the condition of the road had deteriorated so badly, adding that hoodlums sometimes attack and rape female traders when trucks conveying their goods break down on the road.

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He also urged federal appointees from the two states especially Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio to convince the Federal Government about the urgency of rehabilitating the road rather than politisise it.

His appeal followed after the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Ita Enang, disclosed that inadequate budgetary provisions were stalling the reconstruction of the road.

He blamed officials and National Assembly members from both states for not doing enough to attract Federal Government’s attention to the road, wondering why he should be left alone to lobby for funds for the rehabilitation of the highway.

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