A road that comes from Ama Nwozuzu to the right coming from Owerri links Uzoagba, Eziama, Amakohia to Nkwo Ogwu in Mbaise, described as one of the major and important roads in the state has been abandoned for over 30 years by successive administrations in the state. The road was under construction during Sam Mbakwe administration, but was abandoned as soon as the military coup abruptly ended his second term in office.
Since then, other contracts have been awarded for the construction of the road, which construction start from Ama Nwozuzu junction and always abandoned midway. It is always abandoned before it could get to the point where it connects Ikeduru East and West (Umuomi and Eziama). This is the point where a river known as “Mbaa Umueze (Umuomi) and Eziama is located.
The administration of Dee Sam Mbakwe awarded contract for the construction of the road and a bridge to Hadel and Enic. The bridge was done, but the road across and around it was not done. The gutter that was constructed has become very old while gully erosion has taken away some parts of it. In fact, the road is completely dilapidated, that only people walking on foot, bicycles and motorcycles and who must have exceptional courage can risk it.
News Echo contacted the traditional ruler of Ezenomi autonomous community, Uzoagba in Ikeduru Local Government Area, Eze Herbert Akalugwu to get his views concerning the road. While fielding questions from our correspondent, the traditional ruler said he was tired of speaking about the road.
He said several appeals and entreaties have been made to governments at different levels about the road, without any tangible results. He said he was tired of granting interviews about the road, since several reports written over the years about the economic importance of the road and its deplorable state had not yielded any tangible result. He labeled it a federal road.
Akalugwu, however appealed to both the federal and state governments to see the importance of the road and construct it.
Also fielding questions from News Echo about the road, the traditional ruler of Ebikoro community Eze Marcel Egemonu described the road as a very significant one which traverses many communities, LGAs and also connects Abia and Imo States. He said the road started right from Ogwa in Mbaitolu to Ama Nwozuzu to Umuomi to Eziama, which was the colonial headquarters of old Mbaitolu/Ikeduru LGA and to Mbaise, from where Umuahia in Abia state could be accessed.
He said the gully on the troubled spot of the road is too deep and if left unchecked could spell doom for the environment. As according to him the road has been closed for many years and disclosed that the attention of the federal Ministry of Environment was attracted by Christy Anyanwu when she represented Owerri zone at the Senate. He said the Ecological fund office stepped in, but after many years, nothing serious was done and the road has remained the same.
Eze Egemonu called on the state government, Senator for Owerri zone, Ezenwa Onyewuchi and Henry Nwawuba who represents the area at the Federal House of Representatives to expedite action in attracting the federal government, through the concerned agency to rescue the road since it is now apparently beyond the capacity of the state government.
When our correspondent visited the area, he met some indigenes of Umuomi who live close to the dilapidated point of the road; Mr Hendrick Iwuamadi, Mr Livinus Ukawuike who expressed great displeasure with the government for abandoning the important road over the years. They said the road was started during Sam Mbakwe administration, but has since been abandoned since he left office.
“We don’t have government, if we have government, the only road that connects Ikeduru East and West and with other parts of the world will not be like this”, they lamented.
They blamed politics of discrimination and exclusion being played in Ikeduru for the abandonment of the road, as according to them, some politicians in the area, starting from one Ray Ofoegbu to Samuel Anyanwu (Samdaddy) have been diverting attention from the road and channeling everything towards Atta-Amaimo axis. They accused them of diverting contracts for the construction of the road.
Also speaking while fielding questions from our correspondent, another indigene of the area, Mr Celestine Iwuamadi, expressed displeasure that most times officials of the state government and federal government, through the NDDC come to survey the road for construction, but when contract for its construction is awarded, it is normally diverted.
He disclosed that Christi Anyanwu would have influenced the construction of the road, as she was the one who attracted what would have been the only government presence in the area, a 50 bed hospital, being awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), but the contract has been abandoned since Anyanwu left the Senate, regretting that their own brother from the same Ikeduru local government, who took over from the Mbaise woman could not continue the project.
The condition of the road was so bad that the commercial motorcyclist who conveyed our correspondent could not navigate it. He had to park his motorcycle along the road while taking our correspondent on foot to take pictures of the dilapidated road and bridge.
The commercial motorcycle operator, Prince Anthony Asoluka also divulged some information about the road to our correspondent. He said people of Umuomi have been denied access to many facilities in Eziama, such as; Afo Eziama market, the Customary Court which has been relocated to Iho, post office and a police station built by a daughter of Eziama, whose name he gave simply as Felicia.
He said the police station was abandoned due to lack of access road and the fact that the initiator was assassinated in Lagos. He said government at a point brought some personnel of the disbanded Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) to operate from the station, but they left after few months, due to lack of access road.
Meanwhile, while still on the development journalism assignment, News Echo observed ongoing work from Ama Nwozuzu and approached the contractors for Information.
Mr Chibuzo Okosa, who introduced himself as a sub contractor, disclosed that the construction work was awarded by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and was being done by Vic Frank Construction Company.
He disclosed that the contract as awarded by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing was 11 kilometers road and includes the deplorable and abandoned portion connecting Umuomi, Eziama, Mbaise to Umuahia.
However when informed about commencement of construction from Ama Nwozuzu, the indigenes of the area who had earlier spoken to News Echo on the fate of the road, including Eze Akalugwu and Eze Egemonu, expressed doubts on the possibility of constructing the road up to the troubled point, to reconnect Ikeduru East and West through Umuomi and Eziama.
They based their skepticism on the fact that the construction had started same way sometimes in the past and abandoned along the way without getting to the area in question. Eze Egemonu specifically advised that while contractors from Federal Ministry of Works continue their the work from Ama Nwozuzu, the Ecological fund office should step in and start from the Umuomi-Eziama axis, the area will not be abandoned again like in the past.