The Akwa Ibom State Government has denied that 97 percent of the road it has constructed has failed, describing such reports as untrue and unfounded.
Ephraim Inyang-eyen, commissioner for works in an interview in Uyo, the state capital, said though there might have been problem with one or two roads constructed, it did not mean that 97 percent of road projects embarked upon by the present administration had failed.
He said the recent continuous heavy downpour has slowed down several road projects in the state.
He maintained that some of the roads alleged to have failed have not been completed but were at the asphalting stage, noting that the state government had ordered the contractors to suspend all earth work and asphalting jobs till the rains were over.
He revealed that the error discovered on one of the commissioned roads had been corrected, adding that the government was waiting for the rains to stop for it to complete the roads as work could not continue with the constant heavy rains
He said it was only the Airport/Okpoedi road where contractors handling the road had to be forced out because of poor quality job, stating that he has insisted that the current contractor handling the road should work according to the Ministry’s specifications.
He explained that he has been pressuring the contractors who were lagging behind in their jobs to speed up work, saying his work so far cannot be faulted as he was the champion of quality jobs.
The Commissioner decried the abandonment of the Calabar-Itu road project started by the Federal Government, adding that the road was not captured in the 2020 budget, as the contractor supposedly hired to construct the road was never mobilised to site.
He reiterated that the award of the road contract at the eve of the 2019 general election was a political move, and called on the FG to take steps in repairing Federal roads in the state as many of them were bad.
“The report by Victor Ekwere, member representing Mkpat Enin State Constituency that 97 percent of the roads done in the state since the coming of Governor Udom Emmanuel has failed is absolute fallacy; it is not correct.
“The Awa/Ikot Edem/Ikot Emem/Ukam road does not just stop there. The spur goes to Asung, my village, and I will be an irresponsible person to get a contract done that goes to my village that will fail after one year. So, it is not correct.
“I discovered in the course of that particular road that if because of constant rainfall, they do asphalting intermittently as we have sun, there is bound to be water sipping into what was done and when they start a new one, there were gaps. That is what happened on that road and I was the one who discovered it with my team before the commissioning,” he said.
According to him, “That road was commissioned in May; how would we repeat the same error for the road to be done under the rain? It has rained from the day that road was commissioned till today.
“The same contractor is handling the 13.9 kilometre Awa Nkana road. We have finished up to stone base but every time the road is primed for asphalting, it rains torrentially and any time it rained, it takes two or three days for the water to dry out. The last time I went to that road, they had finished but they had to wait till December because the forecast says it will rain till December.”
“If you go round this state, you will see that there are several roads that are near completion that further work cannot be done particularly asphalting. I take responsibility as the supervisor of Awa/Ukam road, Asong/Ikot Ebiere that the member representing Mkpat Enin, Victor Ekwere was being tricky; he did not discover the error.
“If you come to my office, I can show you letters as of 6th of July that we wrote to the contractor and his response to take responsibility. That one road out of the several roads done that has a problem and the contractor has taken full responsibility, does not account for 97 percent of all the roads done in the state that has failed.
“I wrote to suspend all earth work and all asphalting job across the entire state because the volume of rainfall we receive does not allow us to have the benefit of getting these roads done as, and at when we what it,” he said.
ANIEFIOK UDONQUAK, Uyo