Concerned indigenes of Ukpenu, Emuhi in Esan West Local Government Area and Ugiamwen in Uhunmode Local Government Area of Edo State, have cried out over the state of the only road linking the three communities with Ekpoma and the outside world.
They also lamented that the road has become a comfortable hideout for criminals who hibernate there after committing crimes in other areas of the state just as they also harass road users.
In a statement signed by Osahon Airewele on behalf of Concerned Citizens of Ukpenu, Emuhi and Ugiamwen communities, they enumerated the losses indigenes of the area have suffered since 1947, the last time the road was given attention and appealed to all tiers of govermenmet to come to the aid of the communities.
According to the Concerned Citizens, “the precarious state of the Ukpenu-Emuhi-Ekpoma and Ugiamwen road has been a sour and depressing issue for several decades now. The state of the road can no longer be ignored.
“This vital and only link between these communities to the nerve center of economic activities in the region has been in a permanent state of neglect since the colonial era. It is a matter of record that the last time there was any government presence on this link road was in 1947.
“The state of this perilous and deadly road has caused an increase in criminal activities in this area to say the least. It is easier for criminals to lie in wait for travelers who dangerously meander because of the poor condition of the road.”
The Concerned Citizens of the communities also noted that the communities have not left the development of their villages to government alone as they’ve renovated public infrastructure from health centres to dispensaries, primary and secondary schools over the years.
“The neglect of these communities has led to the people employing self-help to build schools and health centers without the involvement of the government.
“The Ugiamwen community was forced to employ self help to build a school that was in a pathetic state of dilapidation and deterioration that it became inhabitable and dangerous.
Unfortunately, teachers could not work or transport themselves to the school because of the inaccessibility to this community. As a result, families desirous of their children’s education have had to send them to relatives in- Ekpoma, so that they can attend schools that have teachers. The ones who had no relatives outside of their immediate vicinity were left behind.
“Development of the ones left behind is arrested because of their inability to get formal education and should we therefore sit idle and allow the destiny of these children to be amputated through our inaction?
“The Emuhi community has not fared better. The sons and daughters of Emuhi in diaspora had to rehabilitate the only health center built years ago. This health center serves as the only dispensary for first aid treatment and maternity for nursing mothers to receive basic prenatal care. As much as they are prepared to hire auxiliary medical staff for the health center, the inaccessibility to the community remains a hurdle.
“People die daily as a result of their inability to transport sick relatives who need urgent attention to hospitals as close as Irrua Specialist Hospital which is less than eight kilometers away. People die daily from ailments that are routinely diagnosed and treated in hospitals.
“Must we allow our relatives to die unnecessarily because of lack of accessible roads.?”