Four days to the planned protest and blockade of the East-West road due to its deplorable state, there is palpable tension among over 500 major companies and other road users in Rivers State.
A 14-day ultimatum has been issued to the federal government to fund reconstruction of the bad portion of the road, especially at the Eleme – Bori axis of the road.
The Chairman of Eleme local government area, Obarilomate Ollor on behalf of four Council areas that make up Ogoni issued the warning that the blockade of the road is imminent after the expiration of the 14 days ultimatum.
The Executive Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, Obarilomate Ollor has expressed total disgust at the level of pain and suffering the people of Eleme and other road users go through while using the Eleme axis of the East-West road following it’s unmotorable state.
He expressed sadness that the NNPCL has failed to fund the project despite being ordered by the Buhari administration to do so.
The Chairman of Eleme local government, Obarilomate Ollor, said apart from the loss of man hours by commuters, the Eleme axis of the East-West Road is now a death trap.
The ultimatum was contained in a press statement issued by Onugweonwi Ate Chinwi, the Chief Press Secretary Eleme Local Government Council on July 07 2023.
Frowning at the attitude and the delay by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to adhere to the directive by the Federal government to release funds for the full construction of the road, Ollor gave NNPCL two weeks ultimatum to release the funds for the road to be fixed or face the action of the people as they will be making a loud noise.
Speaking further, the Eleme Council Boss said the road is at its worst state ever and has now become a death trap and source of economic crisis for citizenry following recent accidents, loss of man power due to the gridlock experienced.
According to him, his efforts in making sure the road is fixed including, meeting the former Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola led to the point where the immediate past administration gave final approval for the construction of the road during it’s FEC meeting and a further directive to NNPCL to fund the project through its tax credit scheme.
In the Chairman’s words; “I am appealing to NNPCL to release the funds between now and end of the month to avoid any action from the people, we want to see RCC mobilized to site within the next two weeks, our people are suffering, dying, losing their jobs because gridlock, we cannot continue to keep quiet to see this happen in our place, we are not insensitive to our people’s plight, we want action taken quickly”.
He further disclosed that he has interfaced with Renoid Construction Company, RCC, which is the company to carryout the construction and all they are waiting for is to be mobilized to site.
Recall could be made on August 1,2021,seven days protest over the bad state of the Eleme section of the East-West Road was suspended,by the Eleme/Ogoni youths that led to the barricade of that section of the road grinding movements and all economic activities over 100 companies in the entire Ogoniland.
Besides being the only road leading to the two Port Harcourt Refineries, Multi-Billion Ndoroma Petrochemical company,Onne Seaports Federal Lighter Terminal and Ocean Terminal,Oil and Gas Free Zone, Nigeria Navy College,West African Container Terminal,WACT and others,it also the only road leading to the four Council areas of Ogoniland and Opobo-Nkoro local government area.
It is also the only access road to Akwa-Ibom and Cross Rivers States from P
Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area, Obarillomate Ollor who announced the suspension on Sunday to newsmen at the Trailer Park in Onne said the suspension followed a firm commitment by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to immediately begin reconstruction of the road.
He commended the Senator of Rivers South East Senatorial district, Senator Barry Mpigi and the Member representing Eleme, Tai, Oyigbo in the House of Reps, Hon. Felix Nwaeke who both brought the issue before the floor of the Red and Green Chamber including; other well meaning Stakeholders within this zone who have made efforts to ensure the road is fixed.