Edo State House of Assembly has mandated the clerk of the House to liaise with the Federal Controller of Works in the state and the Director of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency(FERMA) to fix an appropriate date for the members to visit the various failed spots of federal roads in the state to do on the spot assessment.
Giving the mandate during plenary of Wednesday, November 25th, 2020, was the Speaker of the House, Hon. Marcus Onobun in response to the chain of reasons that the Federal Controller of Works and the Director of FERMA give for the failed portions of the federal roads in the state.
Engineer Aransiola Ademola, the Federal Controller of Works in Edo State and Engineer Olisa Afam, the Director of FERMA, had led a team of their aides to the House to explain the reasons for the failed portion of the federal roads in the state.
Hon. Emmanuel Agbaje, the member representing Akoko Edo, kicked off the enquiries about the failed portions of federal roads in the state. He stated that the Edo State axis of the Benin – Warri Dual Carriage Way is in a terrible situation.
“Is it the Federal Government or your ministry that has carried out palliative work on the Delta axis while the Edo axis is left out of it?” He enquired.
“What is the problem militating against steady construction work on this road?” He further enquired.
He stressed that the state is the hub(meeting point) to get to other parts of the country but it is now becoming impossible to connect to these places through the state.
“The deplorable situation of these roads has made Edo State to be very vulnerable in terms of security issues. We are now at the mercy of armed robbers and kidnappers because these roads are no longer passable.
“People have to creep, not even move any more. They have to creep through.”
Responding to the enquiries from Hon. Agbaje, Engineer Aransiola alleged that “the flooding is actually caused by the people. When I came into Edo State in July, 2020, that was the first thing I identified and I wrote a letter to Governor Godwin Obaseki.
“I also sent a copy of the letter to the Commissioner of Infrastructure who actually appointed a committee to identify the causes of those flooding and we are working together.
“The problem actually is there are drainages and there are culverts that we have constructed to channel the water out of the road. But the people blocked those areas. And there are locations where these waters are to go – the moat and the tension pumps.
“We discovered that the people have acquired those lands and built on them of which the Commissioner of Infrastructure said they are going to report back to the governor so as to find what to do, whether to relocate those people and acquire back this areas.”
He appealed to the lawmakers to sensitise the people on the implications of blocking the drainages and the culverts. He said that the contractor handling the Benin – Ehor – Auchi Road is complaining that at the Ekpoma and Auchi ends the community people are threatening to use concrete to block the erosion channel.
Addressing the House, the Majority Leader, Henry Okhuarobo, expressed shock at the allegations by the Federal Controller of Works. He told him to disabuse his mind and stop giving the House the impression that the problem is the attitude of the people.
He advised Engr. Aransiola to seek for the support of the legislators so as to peacefully resolve whatever was the issue and work can continue at a fast pace, adding that nobody can stop the contractors from doing their work.
Emmanuel Okoduwa, the Chief Whip of the legislature, said that the new narrative of the Federal Controller of Works is contrary to what the House was told earlier that lack of funds have been hampering the activities of the ministry.
“You are now coming to tell us that you have money it is the community that’s not allowing you to work.”
Nosayaba Okunbor, who is the representative of Orhionmwon East, advised that the lawmakers should accompany the contractors to the construction sites to do on the spot assessment and verify their claims.
Ephraim Otaigbe Aluebhosele, the Deputy Whip, asked Engineer Aransiola some salient questions on the working of his unit and what it has been doing as regards maintenance of the federal roads.
At the end of the deliberations the house adjourned sitting to December 14th, 2020.