August 24, 2020|RAZORNEWS
For over two decades now, residents of Ubulu-Uku Community in Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State have lived in squalor and pain due to the poor state of, Ubulu-Uku-Onicha-Ugbo Road; the only access road that leads to virtually other communities within Aniocha and Ika area.
The road has been wrecked by gully erosion and rendered impassable to the extent that walking through what is left of the track is like passing through death trap.
Only strong youths can summon courage to navigate through the ruined road, and they oftentimes end up in traditional bonesetters homes.
Following the startling revelations that the contract for the road project was awarded to a prominent son of Delta State by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the community has, therefore, sent a save-our-souls to President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Niger Delta, Sen. Goodwill Akpobio, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, and all well-meaning Nigerians to intervene and right the wrongs.
Ubulu-Uku people, at home and abroad have unanimously appealed to President Buhari and Akpobio to declare a state of emergency on the road. The people have also made a passionate appeal to the World Bank to assist in expediting action on the road repairs.
Mr. Pius Monye, who spoke from the United States of America, urged Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to intervene.
Addressing Okowa, he said: “My governor, the contract of this road has been awarded many times to a prominent son of the state, the last being in 2015, and till date the job is not done. All we have there is abandoned equipment and serious threats to my people.
“Each time we speak up about the road, the said contractor would send a few workers who would grade the road and leave it in a more awful condition, as he did last November, 2019. The road is in a more deplorable condition than it was before he came to grade it.
“My people are living in fear because of his threats to deal with anyone who dared to speak to newsmen about it. We are helpless. Your Excellency, our people voted for you and we believed in your leadership; so, it would be appreciated if you can intervene on the Ubulu-Uku/Onicha-Ugbo road.
“Also, as a governor, use your good office to query why the person the road contract was awarded to is against the good people of Ubulu-Uku and what he stands to gain with all the threats to deal with my people. He is not ready to fix the road, as he is just using the road as a conduit to steal money from the NDDC.
“Now that there is a panel of investigation into the NDDC, we implore the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Minister of Niger Delta to look into the records of the contract award and see who the contract was awarded to. The last contract was awarded in 2015; we have the documents to tender as evidence when we are called.”
Human rights crusader and convener of #Saveubuluroads, Esther Nwogwonuwe, who spoke from the United Kingdom, said: “We all know that the contract has been awarded about four times to a government official from the state. The most painful thing is that he abandoned all the projects in communities that gave him massive votes. The entire Ubulu-Uku/Onicha-Ugbo communities will never forget such criminality and wickedness. We, the people of Ubulu-Uku in the Diaspora, can no longer travel home; we love our rich culture and heritage.
“We love our annual festivals, we used to return home annually, if not for the festivals but for Christmas and New Year celebrations. Now this is no longer possible. What is the essence, when we can’t access the roads to our homes? What is the essence of returning home only to break our limbs and end up in bonesetter’s homes? Even my people in Nigeria who are not based at home don’t bother to come back. Some of our relatives who lose their loved ones outside Ubulu-Uku, living along the road, do not bother to bring the deceased home for burial.
“ Traditional weddings are being done outside the community. What is the essence of coming home with friends and colleagues only to be embarrassed by not arriving home?
“We are calling on the presidential panel investigating NDDC projects to look into the issue raised on Ubulu-Uku-Onicha-Ugbo Road. I also call on my people to place curses every day on those who the road was awarded to and those who partook in one way or the other in sharing the loot. We also appeal to Governor Okowa to wade into the matter.”
A 90-year-old Mrs. Grace Kolu joined her voice in the appeal to government to expedite action in fixing the road before she joins her ancestors.
Her words: “My fear is that when the Lord calls me home, there would not be road for sympathizers to pass and give me a befitting burial. I have been confined to my sitting room, I can’t go out due to the poor state of the road. Though I am old, God gave me strength and I am physically strong. I used to trek to visit people, but now I am down and weak because I can’t go out for exercise.
“The saddest experience is that the Reverend Father who used to minister Holy Communion to old persons in our area has stopped coming here because the road is impassable. He nearly broke his legs the last time he came. When we heard the road was being repaired before Christmas last year, we rejoiced and prayed for whoever was bringing back our joy, because the road became passable and our children came home. But after the Christmas celebration, the road was again abandoned”.