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NLC, Imo residents kick over deplorable roads

By Benjamin Alade, Gloria Nwafor (Lagos) and Charles Ogugbuaja (Owerri)
28 October 2021   |   2:58 am
• Labour Congress shuts Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway • Demonstration unfortunate, says govt Some residents in parts of Imo State, yesterday, staged a protest over poor state of roads, calling on the local and state governments to repair them urgently. The hotspots were Avu, Umuguma, Nekede-Ihiagwa, World Bank axis, Toronto-Uratta, World Bank, in Owerri West and Owerri…

• Labour Congress shuts Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway • Demonstration unfortunate, says govt

Some residents in parts of Imo State, yesterday, staged a protest over poor state of roads, calling on the local and state governments to repair them urgently.

The hotspots were Avu, Umuguma, Nekede-Ihiagwa, World Bank axis, Toronto-Uratta, World Bank, in Owerri West and Owerri North Local Councils.

Narrating his experience to The Guardian, one of the protesters, displaying a placard, lamented that the residents had faced hardship for years, even as he blamed the state government for failing to make good its promise to repair the roads.

The protester, Chinedu, a native of Umuguma, said people were finding it difficult to access the roads to move their farm harvests to urban areas. He said the problem has led to the spending of huge fares to facilitate transportation.

He said: “It is very pitiable. What we have been seeing on these roads is terrible. Our roads are in states of disrepair, needing urgent attention. We, from Umuguma, cannot easily come to Owerri city. A journey of N100 now costs about N300. We want urgent intervention from the state government.”

In his reaction, Commissioner for Works, Ralph Nwosu, called for patience, saying the state government would commence repairs on some roads, following cessation of rainfall. Nwosu, who spoke through his media aide, said the government is sensitive and responsive to the people’s plight.

ALSO, members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), led by the Ogun State Chapter, shut down the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Ota, in protest against its deplorable state.

The action, which was carried out in collaboration with the Lagos State Chapter of the union, saw protesters display placards with different inscriptions.

Some read: “We don’t want palliatives”, “We want good roads”, “Dapo Abiodun, save our souls from bad roads”, “We are not slaves in our country”.

Chairman, NLC, Ogun State, Mr. Emmanuel Bankole, said: “We will not allow anybody to take away our right,” stressing that the Congress was not happy with the state of roads along Lagos-Abeokuta and environs. In a time like this, we do not have any options but to express our displeasure to the government.”

He stressed that the 21-day ultimatum by NLC lapsed after Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, visited Sango-Ota. Bankole said Fashola promised to commence palliative work but that nothing much had been done since then. “We deserve better than what we saw today; it is below our expectations,” he added.

Chairman, NLC, Lagos, Mrs. Funmi Sessi, said: “We believe in action. The time for talking is gone.” She said the action was long overdue. She said the Lagos chapter joined its Ogun counterpart to ensure good roads are delivered to the people.

BUT in a reaction, Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, expressed his disappointment over the attempt by some group of individuals to stage a demonstration over the deplorable condition of roads in Ado Odo/Ota Local Government Area of the state.

Abiodun, who described the incident as “unfortunate”, gave this position while speaking, yesterday, in a virtual meeting with representatives of Ogun East Senatorial District on the 2022 budget, held at the Governor’s Office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, He berated the demonstrators for trying to paint Ogun in “colours that do not represent the state”.

“The attempted demonstration in Sango-Ota today is most unfortunate. Some people take delight in painting our state in a colour that does not represent our state.

“Ota is very important to us. The first set of roads by this administration was in that local government. The most expensive road, that is the Atan-Agbara road, is in the local government.

“Ogun and Lagos governments have made attempt to get the Federal Government to release the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta road to us for reconstruction, but no response. I have called on several occasions to Federal Government to give attention to the road. That road did not just get bad in the last two years,” he stated.

The governor, while calling for a stop to playing politics with issues affecting the lives of the people, disclosed that a sum of N75 billion would be needed to rebuild the road, declaring that the state does not have such money.

“Please be responsible, don’t play to the gallery. Governance is not a joke”, Abiodun warned.