By Ikwen Atuaka
Motorists entering and exiting Calabar, the Cross River State capital now spend a minimum of 2 hours to move from Tinapa junction to Odukpani junction, a distance of less than 8 kilometers CrossRiverWatch authoritatively reports.
Motorists for the past 10 days have been facing an uphill task navigating through the fallen and broken down vehicles as well as the traffic jam caused by a failed section of the federal route just after Scanobo fueling station and are calling for both state and federal governments to intervene.
“I am heading to flour mills (Niger Mills Company) to pick up some goods and I have been here since 5:30AM,” said haulage driver, Luke from Ebonyi state who was pessimistic about leaving the spot even in two hours.
“I am not sure I will leave here in the next two hours because since morning, those coming out from Calabar are the ones moving out and we going into Calabar are not moving because some people have blocked the road.
“Let government intervene because no road in Cross River is good from Calabar to Ugep, no single road is good and we don’t even know why the government is silent on it,” Luke said and lamented that uniformed personnel don’t make it easier as the bully their way through.
“Now, even uniform people, they come and claim rights and pass while we are here,” he said.
This was about 10:13 AM and his colleagues and passengers did not sound diplomatic about the situation either.
“My opinion is that our government is not doing good. Every road is very bad. All this big trailers are falling because the road is not good,” said a passenger who preferred anonymity.
Another motorist who hails from Akwa Ibom state when approached by this reporter choosed to shout at the top of his voice: “Road is not good. No road. No road, people are suffering in this road, people are having problems, our vehicles are getting bad. My vehicle has gotten bad. It is steaming and fuel will soon finish.
“I have been here since yesterday midnight. There is no road, people are suffering.”
The Cross River State Government has proposed the construction of a 275.5 kilometers superhighway which has been met with mixes reaction and Daniel Osang (not actual name) who was going into Calabar for a business wondered why there was a talk about the superhighway when the existing roads are bad.
“I have been here for more than 2 hours. I am going into Calabar for a business. Since this happened, the Governor has not shown concern (and) everybody is suffering.
“We want the government to do something for us. We don’t have this road yet and he wants to bring superhighway?” Mr. Osang queried.
This comes less than 15 months after the Niger Delta Development Commission had contracted a construction firm, 3E Basse, to rehabilitate the road.
But, this section, another before Odukpani junction and one at Ikot Okon Akiba have failed again.
And, Mr. Ayade had lamented to the Senate committee on works that most Cross River residents do not know the difference between State and Federal highways while his commissioner for works said about NGN20 billion has been spent on rehabilitating federal roads in the state.
However, the federal government announced the award of a contract worth over NGN50 billion for the dualization of the Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene road with Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River planning to build a Spaghetti interchange at Odukpani junction.
It is expected that the projects of executed will solve the problems faced by motorists plying the route.
But, questions such as when will the projects begin?, How long will they take? and how durable the roads will be? remain unanswered.
CrossRiverWatch’s Jonathan Ugbal contributed to this report.