Worrisome state of roads in Imo at peak …Fr Okoro begs govt for urgent attention
It’s as if the present economic recession in the country is hitting the people of Imo State the worse.
Agreed that in the last couple of months prices of commodities in the nation’s market have skyrocketed, subjecting every facets of socio-economic life to hyper-capital intensive. Yet, the expression of concern by Imo indigenes and residents over the poor, state of roads across the state has no doubt becomes an added pain.
At Ezeogba Emekuku, Owerri North LGA, about five kilometers from Owerri, the Imo State capital, having seen pedestrians and motorists alike continued in their strenuous search in accessing the road, Very Rev. Fr. Alex Okoro, in this report draws the attention of the state government and other constituted authorities to the gory site at Awaka and Ezeogba Emekuku, portions of the federal road in the state linking Abia state.
Fr. Okoro, who is also the Parish Priest of Mount Carmel Catholic Church Emekuku stressed that since the rains started the experiences of those plying the Owerri/Umuahia road axis remain excruciating. He is therefore appealing to concerned authorities for urgent attention.
Fr, how do you feel about the state of our roads?
“My dear, I feel so bad and depressed”, he interjected
In your capacity as the Parish Priest here, what has the church done to nip this ugly situation in the board?
We, I mean my parish council and other well-meaning members of the community have in no small measure, through letter writing and vocal means persuaded the state government. Each time we make these calls, we get the impression that something good is in pipeline. At the end of the day they all became empty promises. It is sad and disheartening!
Continuing, the priest who doubled as the Dean Emekuku deanery of the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri was quick to clear the air on the impression that the actions of Emekuku people who are legendary for erecting landed properties and structures along the roads were the cog in the government’s machines. But he objected, explaining that the government and its agencies for roads maintenance were not been sincere. He said that the level of agony being experienced by the people has gone beyond such sentiments, pointing out that the people have periodically volunteered their time and individual resources for the road, but the government has continued to frustrate all their efforts.
“I’ve worked here for four years. I’ve concern for these people, but our efforts are being rendered fruitless by the government. Each time we mobilize to work on the roads we receive caution from FERMA. They would overnight land their equipment and machines to the site, giving the impression that they are set for work. But lo and behold in a space of time they will vacate living little or no work done. This is exactly how the hardcores and chippings you see there came about.”
Fr., I heard it was the efforts of your parish August Meeting women?
“Yes and no! The yes is that the women in their wisdom and resourcefulness wanted to do something positive. But perceiving the idea FERMA quickly mobilized its workers with those stones, and that’s the extent they’ve gone ever since.
Fr. Okoro further acknowledged the bureaucratic bottleneck that faces work projects in Nigeria, arguing that if the federal and state governments were unable to get their asses together, they should as a matter of urgency allow the people to take their destiny into their own hands.
“We’ve again and again expressed readiness to carry out some work on the road. The parish, the people and of course our resources were all ready to put the roads in good shape. All these efforts were discouraged by government’s antics”, the priest regretted, adding that what they needed was just free hand from the government.
Reacting to the rumours making rounds that the Owerri/Umuahia road had been awarded for construction by past governments, as what the present government may be laying credence in its delay tactics, Fr. Okoro said any government that threw in towel following such sentiments “is playing politics of insensitivity”.
He described government as a continuum which should saddle itself with people’s-plight-ameliorating policies and not manufacturer of pain and hardship.
The priest who was speaking with emotion-laden voice lamented the untold negative effects the roads have imparted on his pastoral work.
“Our pastoral activities have broken down. Those across the mesh called road no longer have access for daily Masses. It’s like they have been cut off from spiritual activities. This is our pain. This is our anguish”, he cried out, urging the government to be on their rescue.
Meanwhile, further findings revealed that the Nkwo Ezeogba-Umuawuka Emii-Egbu road which was hitherto serving as by-pass for motorists has collapsed. This according to report was largely due to pressure caused by constant vehicular movements which saw the route as last result.
This story was confirmed by the Chairman, parish pastoral council, Barr Frank Ohiri, and another council member, Sir Chris Osuji KSM. The duo who were nodding in affirmation when their parish priest was shedding light on the road scenario particularly observed that the by-pass road which was constructed by the state government to ease traffic on the major road has become another nightmare. They observed that residents of the area “are now bearing their own portion of brunt” as trucks and lorries in all forms and magnitude are making use of the remote rout. They therefore joined voices with their parish priest in calling for speedy recovery of the roads.