Why Okpella-Okene highway rehabilitation is yet to be completed- Lawmaker

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The Okpella-Okene highway is crumbling very fast due to abandonment by the contractors engaged to fixed it. This development coupled with incidences of kidnapping on the highway has led many motorists to seek alternative routes to get to Abuja from Edo State.

“A journey from Auchi to Abuja which usually take three hours, we now spend about six hours on the road due to the bad nature of the road.

“Equally traumatic are the long delays we experience on the road.” Mr Yakubu Lawson, a motorist told this blog.

Reacting to the plight of motorists and travellers on this highway, the member representing Etsako Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, Hon. Johnson Oghuma said the lawmakers especially from the region have done the needful to ensure the Okpella-Okene axis of the Benin-Abuja highway is fixed but due to shortage of fund, the project is being delayed.

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The lawmaker made this disclosure at an enlarged senatorial leaders’ meeting of the All Progressive Congress in Edo north held recently.

According to Oghuma: “We lawmakers have had motions individually and corporately. Why am I saying this? There was a motion by all the national legislators, House of Representative members concerning this road. I had an individual motion and I know about three other people had motions.

“We invited the Minister of Works. At the time we discussed, the only thing he told us was that, the road was shared among about three or five contractors and we asked: you have embarked on road maintenance to the north, West and even east. What is wrong with South-south?

“Then it got to a level that Edo lawmakers and all South-south lawmakers moved a motion.

“The Minister explained that it is lack of fund that causes the delay. But we explained that other roads are being funded, why is our own not funded? That is the level that I know. We are not happy about the situation. No lawmaker is happy about it. We want to be coming home with ease.” Oghuma said.

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Similarly, his counterpart, the Deputy Majority leader and member representing Akoko-Edo Federal Constituency, Hon. Peter Akpatason disclosed that the Okpella-Okene road rehabilitation has been left uncompleted because of lack of fund.

He told this blog that the money voted to rehabilitate the road through the Sukuk fund has not been made available for the exercise.

He said:

“We made alot of efforts to get proper funding for that road. Sukuk money is being used to fund that part of this same road but they have refused to extend Sukuk money to Okene-Benin axis. That is what caused the shift of traffic from the Auchi-Okpella-Okene road to Auchi-Igarra-Ibilo road to Okene…

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“We have made a presentation to the Ministry of Works, to Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA). Ministry of Works awarded contract for the maintenance of the road but while the maintenance was on, the Contractor pulled out because he said he was not being paid.

“We are hoping that they will be able to secure fund to pay the Contractor. So that, he can mobilize and go back to work.”

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