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Stakeholders laud FG over Calabar-Itu road project

...call for timely completion

Stakeholders in Akwa Ibom State have lauded the Federal Government over the award of the N79.6 billion contract for the construction of the Cross River/ Akwa Ibom road project through the Calabar-Itu highway that links the two states.

The road has been in a deplorable condition putting the lives of business travellers within the two states at risk.

Since its construction during the military era and not witnessed any full-scale rehabilitation ever since, according to checks.

Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing, is reported to have announced the award of the contract while addressing state house correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by President Muhamadu Buhari in Abuja.

“The Ministry of Works and Housing presented a memorandum for the completion of the dualization of the Odukpani–Etu-Ikot Ekpene road and this is about the section from Oku Iboku power plant to Mbak and that is about 26 kilometres stretch.

“Council approved the award for N79.649 Billion, to be executed over 60 months. This will help complete the dualization gaps between the one awarded to Julius Berger and the section awarded to CCECC.”

Read also: FG commence payments of compensation to Benue communities displaced over road construction

According to him, when the contract is completed, motorists in the affected areas will have an option of a dual carriageway instead of the existing single carriageway.

He said the contract was approved to address the problem caused by the heavy cargo that passes through that area from the Southern to North Central zones of the country.

Reacting to the development, Ini Akpabio commended the Federal Government for awarding the contract for the construction of the road saying he was happy the “Federal Government had responded to our collective.”

Akpabio who is chairman of Akwa Ibom Hotels and Tourism Management board stated this on his timeline and expressed the hope “that this promise will be fulfilled within the stipulated period.”

“Recall that recently I drove through Uyo to Calabar to attend the South-South Tourism Stakeholders Meeting.

“I did show video clips and pictures of the deplorable condition of this very important road.

“Am happy to note that the Federal Government has responded to our collective pleas.”

Other stakeholders who spoke with our reporter while also thanking the Federal Government pleaded that the road should be speedily completed adding that such a vital road should not have been allowed to deteriorate to the extent that travellers had to spend about five hours in a distance of fewer than 100 kilometres.

According to some of them, there should be provisions in the budget by the Federal Government for the yearly maintenance of roads across the country.

A senior journalist, Patrick Titus, however, insisted that until the contractors are mobilised to the site, it would not be the first time it was reported that a contract has been awarded for the same project.

“The road has been in a bad shape, I would like to adopt a wait and see attitude over the road project,” he said.

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