Residents of Tabernacle Road and adjoining streets in Uyo, Akwa Ibom have expressed displeasure over the abandonment of the roads seven months after contractors mobilised to site.
They said construction of Tabernacle road, a major link road between Ikot Ekpene Road –Nelson Mandela- Calabar –Itu highway was awarded to Zastros Engineering Construction Company in 2018, but that the company abandoned the project seven months after it moved to site.
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They stated that the company commenced work on the side drains and poured red earth on some portions of the road, but later abandoned the road and adjoining streets, which have left the streets perennially flooded.
The badly affected streets which include Tabernacle, Nelson Mandela, Afaha Ube, Etaha Itam Market and Ikpewe roads were said to have worsened by the excavation and earth works on some portions of the roads by the contractor.
The residents lamented that flood have sacked some residents and rendered others homeless, adding that the State Government has failed to keep its promise to construct five major arterial roads along Ikot Ekpene road, and other roads connecting Itu local government area.
They said the abandoned roads were used as political tools during the electioneering by Governor Udom Emmanuel to win the Akwa Ibom State election.
One of the affected resident, Effiong Umoh, a retired civil servant, said that after his retirement from service, he ventured into agriculture and acquired a fish pond and poultry farm in his compound at No. 4 Tabernacle lane.
Umoh said all his gratuity money which he invested into the business was washed away by flood after a downpour in 2019.
“The flood also destroyed my entire household, certificates and other vital documents, and pulled down the fence of the compound,” Umoh said.
Umoh said that his household and other tenants have been counting their losses without any form of compensation from the State Government, adding that he and other people have deserted his compound and other buildings in the area.
Christopher Michael, a welder and resident of Afaha Ube Itam Street, said that the condition of the road was affecting his business adversely as the street has become completely impassable.
“I have been on this road since the last 10 years, and they promised us they would do this road, but, none of the promises have been fulfilled.
“In 2018, they came and graded this road, and made everybody believe that they would do the road. Moreso, the contract was awarded by the state government, but after 2019 election, they abandoned the contract.
“People have not been passing this road again, we are the people that filled this road so that our business can move, but, no way, if you move beyond this point, there is no road, no car can pass there.
“My vote and that of my family were counted in favour of Governor Udom Emmanuel, so, we are begging him to come and help us. Look at my shop, they pulled it down because of this road, and the time they did the gutters and stopped here, I was not paid any compensation,” he stated.
The head of Ikot Abasi Itam Village, host to the popular Itam market, Gabriel Edet Ikpewe, said his community has been severally deceived by successive administrations in the state.
Ikpewe regretted that in spite of many promises made by the present and successive governments to construct the Ikpewe and adjoining streets, none was yet to be kept.
“We are not happy with the state of this road, because, in 2015, when the present governor came here to campaign in the market, he promised that he will construct the road.
“So, in 2018, we saw a contractor who came in dug this gutters, and after then the contractor left, and each time we asked, they kept telling us they would do the road, but, till now, I have not seen them.
“The other side of the road was done by former Gov. Victor Attah, this other side is the one His Excellency, Gov. Udom Emmanuel promised to do. I believe this should have been done since the era of Obong Attah, but, it was abandoned.
“This road is of great significance and importance, because of this market. The road is meant to decongest Ikot Ekpene road, link Afaha Ube road, and connect those coming from Calabar, so as to avoid people going to the flyover to turn.
“The road, if it is done will enhance trading and other business activities; it would improve the living condition of people in my community.
“The present condition of the road does not allow for business to flow, and so, we are not happy, we are not feeling the impact of government.
“We are still appealing to the government to come and rescue the situation, since, they have already made a promise to do the road, they should come and do the road.
“If it rains now, the entire of this area is flooded, even my compound is not spared, the embankment around my building here is to prevent the effect of flood.
“This market has been generating revenue to both the state and the Local Government Counci, and we are within the capital city, even though, we are in Itu LGA,” he stated.
Efforts to get the Commissioner for Works, Prof. Eno Ibanga, to react to the issue were not successful.
Even when he directed our correspondent to send a text, he did not reply to all the text messages sent to his phone at the time of filing this report.