FG decries near take over of Aba – PH Highway by refuse

Abia state Governor Ikpeazu

The Federal Government has expressed worry over the encroachment of refuse on the Umuahia – Aba – Port Harcourt Expressway currently undergoing rehabilitation.

Mr. Chudi Agbakoba, Deputy Director, Highways, South East, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing made the observation in Umuahia on Friday during inspection of federal roads in the zone.

The deputy director said that the situation had become embarrassing to the government in view of the importance of the road.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the affected section of the road is a major refuse dump site for the Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA).

Consequently, refuse from that precinct has taken over a significant portion of a section of the road, oozing dangerous odour and forced motorists to use one section of the dual carriageway.

The deputy director said that the Federal Government was worried that the development had delayed the pace of work on the project and had posed serious threat to motorists.

He said that the matter was worse as all entreaties made by the ministry officials to make the state government relocate the dump site and barricade it had failed.

“We are now going to take it up with them at a higher level because the way things are now the contractor cannot work here.

“The state government has said that they do not have money to relocate the dump site but they must take responsibility of their problem and deal with it.

“Barricading the dump site is not part of the project given to the contractor and the Federal Government cannot fund it,” Agbakoba said.

Also, the Federal Controller of Works in the state, Mr. Nasir Bello, said that series of meetings had been held with the state governor, deputy governor and commissioner for environment at different times on the issue.

Bello said that the Minister of Power, Works and Housing had even visited the site due to the enormity of the challenge.

“We have met the governor who promised to relocate the dump site as well as stop the dumping of refuse with immediate effect.

“The committee set up by the state government to relocate the site has since finished its work but the same government came up with the issue of lack of funds to relocate it,” he said.

Bello said that the development had substantially affected the excellent job being done by Arab Contractors Nig. Ltd. on the road.

“You can see that we have completed the right hand side of the dual carriageway and we would have done this portion for the safety of the road users.

“This is what we have made known to the state government that this situation is affecting the progress of this job. So we appeal to them to hasten action,” Bello said.

Reacting, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. John Okiyi said that the state government had concluded every arrangement to relocate the site.

Okiyi said that Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu had directed ASEPA not to dump refuse on the site, adding that the situation would soon be a thing of the past. (NAN)

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