Residents of Abavo Community, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State, have again expressed worries over the deplorable condition of roads in the community, saying that the situation is fast taking its toll on socio-economic activities of the area.
A cross section of Abavo residents who spoke to Ika Weekly last week, complained bitterly about the bad state of the roads. They deplored a situation where the roads in a community which has seven local government wards and the requisite size and population to form a local government area, in addition to being a major food producing area in the state, are fraught with pot-holes and gullies, thereby hampering the movement of people and goods.
A tour round the community which has nine quarters, revealed that, save some parts of Ekuma and Udomi quarters, the roads in other parts of the community are anything but accessible. Ekwoma, Ekweze, Okpe, Oyoko, Igbogili and Obianyima quarters are the worst hit.
Ika Weekly gathered that the roads are so bad that car owners who visit these quarters are often compelled to park their vehicles by the Agbor-Warri Express Way to board motorcycles, popularly known as okada to their destinations in the community.
For those who travel to and fro Obianyima, a distant quarter in the community, it is said to be a more harrowing experience. The same is true for commuters who ply the Abavo-Ekuku Agbor Road.
According to the Chairman of the commercial motorcyclists Union, Abavo Branch, Mr. David Nwose, the union has been compelled to increase its bike fares because of the poor road network in the community and its attendant effects on their motorcycles.
He said since the commercial motorcyclists have to spend a lot of money to service their motorcycles regularly, coupled with the longer time it now takes to travel to some of the quarters, the okadaman have no choice than to review the fares upward.
Mr. Nwose said, "The roads in Abavo are so bad. There is hardly any quarter that we can travel to without incurring serious damage on our motorcycles, just as we spend more time on the roads.
"Because of all these, the distance that used to cost passengers N30 is now N60, while we now charge between N100 and N120 for the distance that used to cost N60.
Speaking further, he said, "Travelling to Obianyima from Abavo Market, and vice versa, is even worse. That is not to mention the Abavo-Ekuku Agbor Road. In fact, people hardly pass through that road because it is so bad. When Ekuku Agbor people are coming to Abavo Market they have to pass through the roads in Ute-Erumu and Ute-Okpu before coming to Abavo."
Mr. Jude Isima, a businessman, wished government would pay attention to the roads now that the dry season would soon set in.
According to him, if nothing is done in the coming dry season, the situation would be unbearable for the residents of the community.
He said, "we are not saying that government is not trying. Of course they built our market, and up till now, Abavo people are full of praises and appreciation for the Uduaghan administration. But government should also pay attention to this issue of bad roads. How can a large community like this be without a single motorable road? It is affecting our socio-economic activities. We passionately appeal to the local, state and federal governments to help us out of this problem."
A civil servant from the area who pleaded anonymity, blamed the politicians from the community especially those at the local and state levels of government for the deplorable state of the roads.
"For how long shall we continue to have representatives who do not care about the development of the community?" he quarried. Fuming, he further said, "Now can you show me a single thing that the councilors from this area have contributed to this community. What of the entire local government council whose vice chairman is from Abavo here? What have they done to repair the roads.
"Don’t we have politicians from this area at the state level? Look at the Abavo-Ekuku Agbor road. The road is so bad that someone will travel to Abuja and return and the person traveling from Ekuku Agbor to Abavo Market will still be on the road. But the member representing Ika Federal Constituency is from Ekuku-Agbor."
He noted that the situation has not only affected the economic and agricultural activities of the people in the area but is also causing strain on the already lean pockets of the residents of the area who are now made to pay high bike fares each time they are traveling from or to any of the quarters in the community.
But reacting to the issue, the speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Barr) Martin Okonta, said the people in the area would soon have respite from the present situation.
Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Frankwhyte Osabohien, in his country home which incidentally is Abavo, the speaker stated that the on-going developmental strides of the present administration in the state are meant to be felt in all parts of the state, including Abavo, adding that some contracts have been awarded to rehabilitate some roads in the area.
He said, "our people should appreciate what the present administration has done for Abavo Community so far, especially as it affects the transformation of the Abavo Market. Abavo people have not had it so good. We should appreciate the state government and particularly the state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, without whom such development would not have taken place.
"Development is a gradual process. The current developmental strides of the present administration in the state will be felt in all parts of the state. No area is being left out.
"Abavo community will also have its fair share. We just need to be patient with the government. At the moment, work on the first phase of the Abavo Ring road has been concluded, while work will soon commence on the second phase of the Ring Road. These things are done in phases. The present administration is irrevocably committed to the infrastructural development of the entire state."
Others who spoke on the issue were, however, quick to point out that since the inception of the present administration in the state, government has never left out Abavo in the scheme of things. To them, the upgrading of the Abavo market to an Ultra-modern market and the provision of city buses which now shuttle between Abavo and Agbor are eloquent testimonies to the Uduaghan administration’s commitment to the welfare of Abavo people.
They, however, appealed to the Governor, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Barr) Martin Okonta, the Chairman of Ika South Local Government Area, Hon. Hilary Ibude, all Abavo indigenes in government as well as corporate bodies to come to the aid of the community in the are of road rehabilitation, especially now that the rains will soon subside, saying that the present situation is inflicting untold sufferings on the residents of the area.
They also called on the member representing the Ika Federal Constituency, Hon. Engr. Doris Uboh, to equally help with repairing of roads in the community, especially the Abavo-Ekuku Agbor Road which, according to them, is currently impassable.