As the rains topples its acceleration, residents of Nekede in Owerri West local government Area of Imo state have decried the deplorable condition of the Naze Industrial Cluster road linking Nekede and Ihiagwa communities.
According to some of the residents, the road condition has negatively influenced economic activities and growth in the community. The attention of the state government to rescue the community has yielded no positive results.
Residents situated along the usually busy Naze-Nekede/Ihiagwa road passed through narrowing time occasioned by awful road. Two Federal tertiary institutions Federal Polytechnic, Nekede and Federal University of Technology Owerri are located along this road.
This road is so horrible that even pedestrian find it difficult to ply, vehicles broke down with ease on this road, others get stuck in the muddy water it was never an unusual sight as elegantly dressed artisans, students and workers, lectures were often ordered out of Vehicles in the middle of the brownish swoop an irrespective of the depth of smelly stagnant water.
Residents added that the road, which has “deep potholes”, have placed untold hardship on pedestrians and vehicle owners alike.
“Many residents expressed utter unhappiness about this road, saying that it is about to take its former shape of 2011 when as a result of its deep potholes residents have to trek long distance, as they could not go with their vehicle” he said.
He added that the motorcyclists, tri-cyclists and drivers have hiked their transportation fare as they complain that the road damages their vehicle”.
It was also learned that some groups have began collecting illegal tariffs from motorist and commuters traveling on the road.
One local Dweller told KamReports Correspondents that these miscreants calling themselves “Indigene Youths” in the communities harass residents and vehicle owners to give them money. This is being done on daily basis as they would not allow you to pass the only tiny road unless you give them something.
A source told our reporters that this road in question was constructed and asphalted with low quality mixture gravel and sand by the worried contractors who claimed that they were not paid for quality work done to be done.
Lecturers have appealed to the State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, to take action and prevent the road from further deterioration.
Speaking, one of the lecturers who prefer not to have her name on print noted said, “though the said road is a Trunk “A” road which is duly the responsibility of the Federal government to maintain. The state governor should however in his usual listening manner come to the rescue of Imolites, and attend to this road in so as to alleviate the throes of his people”.
The Nekede Community which is the most affected by the impact of the fast deteriorating road is at the verge of being cut off from the rest of the state. The road which is fast becoming impassable starting from the Industrial Clusters, if not attended to at this time, will soon compel some staff of the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede and Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) to abandon their cars in at home to engage the services of commercial motorcyclists at exorbitant fares.
The Student Union Government President when contacted, noted that the Polytechnic community, transporters, natives, and residents of the area have unanimously sent “save our soul” message to Governor Rochas Okorocha to come to their aid. They want the fast deteriorating Nekede-Ihiagwa road repaired.
Some of the residents who spoke to Our Correspondent said that history of 2011 is about to repeat itself once more when hoodlums took advantage of the collapsed portions to rob individuals plying on the road off their valuables. According to them, violent crimes occurred on the road on daily basis.
In a media Chat, the Academic Staff Union of Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Owerri, recounted with pains how in 2011 they were reduced to using the road in tears as several portions of the facility collapsed.
They argued that the road is one of the busiest state roads linking three federal institutions in the state namely: Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Police College, Nekede and Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO).
The union recalled that the road was scheduled for reconstruction during Governor Achike Udenwa’s administration in 2000. The contract it alleged, was awarded to Hardel and Enic Construction Company sometime ago but regretted that its delivery profile failed short of acceptable standard thus the road deteriorated much faster than was expected not too long after it was constructed.
According to the union, the present administration in the state during its first regime delayed in making effort to save the road from further deterioration. Its fire brigade approach also failed short of quality as the road barely after two years has been plunged back to its former dilapidated state.
“Due to the state of the road in 2011, criminal activities rose contentiously within Nekede-Ihiagwa axis as reports of kidnap of persons around at collapsed portions as well as robbery became daily occurrences.”
According to the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the institution, “the road became so bad that staff of the institution started abandoning their vehicles at some locations and trekked to school.” The PRO reiterated that the road is once more plunging its 2011 ugliest shape.
A community leader, Nze Raymond Osuji called on Imo State government to come to their aid by urgently intervening to save the residents from further economic hardship occasioned by the collapse of the road as experienced in past years, recalling that the deplorable nature of the road then caused prices of foodstuff in the area to soar beyond the reach of ordinary man. He feared that if nothing is done on time now to curb the ugly situation, some people in the area might be forced to relocate to other neighbouring communities to earn a living.
Others who decried the fast deteriorating state of the road include students of FUTO who complained of hike in transport fares by commercial tricycle operators and bus drivers who dare to ply the road.
A female student of Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Miss Adanma Uzowuru told Our Correspondent that the hike in transport fares by commercial drivers was draining their purses. She called on the state government to accord the road a top priority in its scheme of things because of its economic importance.
According to KamReports’ investigation, following the deplorable state of the road, a good number of staff of FUTO and commercial drivers hitherto plying the route have now diverted to Owerri- Port Harcourt road in order to avoid it, while their counterparts in Federal Polytechnic Nekede are on daily visit to Mechanic workshops.