By Jonathan Ugbal; Government House Correspondent
The House of Representatives has decried the deplorable state of federal roads in Cross River State with a promise to ensure that the state gets its fair share of appropriation in the 2017 appropriation in a bid to ensure smooth movement of goods and services.
The House of Representatives committee on works led by the chairman, Honorable Tony Ugochukwu disclosed this Tuesday in Calabar during a courtesy visit to the Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade where he disclosed that they were in the state on oversight duties when they discovered “defects” during their tour of the Calabar- Ikom – Katsina Ala highway and promised necessary actions will be taken to ensure these are reflected in the 2017 appropriation bill when passed.
“It is the responsibility of the House of Representatives that any appropriation law that comes into effect, that there is value for money for appropriation spent. It is based on this that we said prior to the 2017 appropriation, it will be good to go round to have a knowledge based input into the budget process and in that vein we have toured some of the projects that are being handled by the Federal Ministry of works, power and housing.
“We have also seen the challenges therein. From Obubra to Ikom, the entire stretch there are a number of hiccups and there hasn’t been sufficient appropriation made in that respect. I think that defect, with the committee members having seen it, those defects will be cured by (the) 2017 appropriation.
“We will ensure that Cross River State is up to speed and have its own fair share of assessment, fair evaluation and necessarily fair inputs into whatever appropriation law we make” he said.
Honorable Tony disclosed that the ministry had given notice of termination to Picollo Brunelli, the contractor handling section 1 will ensure that the procurement process is facilitated and included in the 2017 appropriation to ensure that the entire stretch of the road is worked on to prevent missing links since it served as “a major economic corridor” with the entire country benefitting from it.
Governor Ayade in his remarks said motorists plying the federal highways in the state usually conclude the state government was incompetent due several collapsed portions which made travelling across the state difficult.
Represented by his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu, Ayade said that; “If you came here a couple of weeks back when the rains were still on, you will be very very sad indeed. We are in a situation in which we are completely trapped in Calabar.
“To get to Ogoja is wahala. To get to Honorable Idagbo’s home in Abuochiche is a lot of problem, no road. The roads are broken. To get to Akpabuyo or Bakassi is a problem. You will be seeing that stretch going to Ikang which you will be seeing going that direction towards the Cameroun border is a problem.
“The unfortunate thing is that all these roads are federal roads. And just like the Chairman rightly pointed out, the average citizen who is using these roads, not just Cross Riverians who come here, all they know is that this Government is totally incompetent because these are the people they are seeing on ground.
“Because of that, we have been forced in some instances to use our meagre resources to see how we can try to do some rehabilitation. It is not easy to rehabilitate roads, very very expensive business” he said.
Also, he queried why; “These roads were not reflected in the 2016 budget. It was a pity and I was wondering what happened. We have put the fate of Cross River into your hands now. Please don’t allow 2017 budget to pass unless there is a reflection of the rehabilitation of these roads.”
He called on the committee to support the Superhighway project of the state government and see it as “a federal project.”
Earlier, the Commissioner for works in the state, Dane Osim Asu said the lawmakers who have been in the state since Monday came in from Enugu state. He commended their efforts and urged them to support the state’s Superhighway project.
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.