Bleeding Oron Community: Abandoned By FG, Forsaken By State Govt | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Bleeding Oron Community: Abandoned By FG, Forsaken By State Govt

Posted: Aug 8, 2015 at 4:19 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Samuel Ita –  Akwa Ibom


Oron Community in Akwa Ibom State has literarily found its self between the devil and the deep sea. Oron is a hub of economic activities in Akwa Ibom State and the Oron road links the rest of the state to Oron beach.

Oron beach is the centre of the fish and crayfish trade as well as the sea route to Calabar, Cameroun, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the rest of West, Central and South Africa.

However, despite its strategic and economic importance, the road has been neglected. In fact, it has become a nightmare as several houses and a filling station located near the collapsed section of the road have been sacked by flood. The bad section of the road has been closed to traffic for over a year hence vehicles coming into Oron town from other parts of the state and the rest of the country are diverted through Stadium Road, Secretariat Road and other adjoining Streets. This development has caused untold hardships to the people. The business life and activities in Oron community have been paralysed as evidenced by the flooded and deserted petrol station by the road.

Also affected is a new generation commercial bank along Oron Road near the erosion spot. Customers of the bank now go through longer alternative routes paying higher transport fares to get to the bank.

The community has sent a save our souls (SOS) appeal to the Federal and Akwa Ibom State Governments to come to their rescue and urgently complete the erosion control project and rehabilitation of the bad portion of Oron Road in Oron to save them from further hardship and economic loses.

Following the devastation caused by erosion on the failed portion of the Federal road which resulted in the destruction of some residential and business houses around the area, the administration of the immediate past Governor of the state, Chief Godswill Akpabio had embarked on an erosion channelisation and road rehabilitation project to ameliorate the destruction caused by the floods on the bad portion of the road.

The Akwa Ibom State Government had embarked on the project because the Federal Government did nothing to control the erosion and repair the road despite the fact that it is a federal road.

But the hopes of the people that the road would be rehabilitated were dashed as the Akpabio administration abandoned the project just before the last election without reason.

Residents who spoke to Saturday Independent also complained that hoodlums hide under the ravine at the erosion construction site to attack and rob residents taking advantage of lack of access roads in and out of the area. Taxi drivers and Okada riders also complained that the closure of Oron Road at the construction site and diversion of traffic has sometimes caused fatal accidents resulting in irreparable losses of lives and vehicles.

When Saturday Independent contacted the Chairman of Oron Local Government, and Oman Esin for his reaction, he said that Oron Road is a federal road and thus, the Federal Government should have repaired it. He said that due to inaction of the Federal Government, the Akwa Ibom State Government under the administration of Akpabio had embarked on the rechanelisation of the drainage and rehabilitation of the road to alleviate the plight of the people but could not complete the project due to financial constraints.

Mr. Esin therefore appealed to the Federal Government to intervene and complete the repairs of Oron Road in view of the importance of the road to the economy of the area, the state and country as a whole.

He said, “My people are badly affected, the Federal Government should quickly step in and bring succour to our people by completing the project.”

On his part the President General of Oron Union Engr. Chief Asuquo Inuikim regretted that the damage and closure of Oron Road in Oron town has adversely affected the economic and social life of the area. He appealed to the Federal Government to come to the aid of Oron people by repairing the road.

But when contacted the Federal Controller of Works in the   State, Engr. Emeka Nwankwo was not on seat but admitted on phone that Oron Road is a federal road but that the State Government was handling the repair project. He said that “It is left for the Akwa Ibom State Government to complete the project and then send their bills to the Federal Government for reimbursement.”

He referred Saturday Independent to the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Works to find out their “their plan for completing the repairs of Oron Road especially now that the rains have worsened the road and the people are sending SOS to the government. However, repeated efforts to see the State Commissioner for Works proved abortive as he was said to be very busy.