Cross River government spends N25 Billion to fix Federal roads in the state

Emmanuel Ulayi

As part of the desire to constantly mitigate the impact of the deplorable state of all Federal roads in the state for the good of Cross Riverians, motorist and commuters, the sum of N25 Billion
has been so far expended by the Cross River Government as intervention on the roads.

Disclosing this in a radio programme, tagged “Ayade’s Cross River”, anchored by Beatrice Akpala, Solomon Asha and Emmanuel Ulayi, yesterday on a topic, “Government’s Intervention
on Federal Roads Inspite of Zero Allocation, and 2016 Blueprint of the Ministry of Works”, the state commissioner for Works, Hon. Dane Osim Asu, who also appeared in the programme with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Charles Eyong, and the Director of Civil, Ministry of Works, Engineer Godwin Akeke, explained that of the said sum, N8 Billion was expended for
intervention by the administration of Senator Liyel Imoke.

Answering questions from the trio of Akpala, Asha and Ulayi and Cross Riverians who sent in their questions through text messages, the Works commissioner further explained that the
administration of Senator Ben Ayade has deliberately decided to invest heavily on intervention on Federal roads with approval from the federal government not minding the serious paucity of fund/
zero allocation confronting the state because of Governor Ayade’s desire to do something positively and aggressively to mitigate the untold hardship which Cross Riverians and other Nigerians go
through daily on these roads, adding that Cross River request/ application to intervene on these roads was expressly approved because it met the recommended standard.

Hon. Osim Asu said that of the N8 Billion that was spent by the administration of Imoke on these roads, N4 Billion was jointly approved and out of which only N250 MILLION was reimbursed
to the state, adding that the Ayade administration has raised that standard to “N25 Billion in investment on Federal roads and out of that amount, we have satisfied the requirements leap that will
lead to reinvestment and about N19 Billion have been recommended from the Federal Government to carry out that with a promise of reimbursement”, Hon Asu maintained.

“Before rehabilitating federal roads, approvals must be secured from the Presidency, Due Process, Bureau of Public Private Partnership (BPPP), the supervisory ministry, Federal Ministry of works, represented by the Federal controller of works in Cross River, and it required joint supervision, now this is a long process.

We have moved to the ministry of works, the joint national Assembly Committee on Finance and Works and carried out our presentation and scored an ‘A’ by presentation of documents and
facts, and our recommendations are on top gear. This is the level of commitment of this administration to rehabilitate roads, and we expect that Cross Riverians will see that commitment.

We expect Cross Riverians to see that here is a man who is not resting in his oars to ensure that they get the best as it has been made known to the federal government that Cross River has the
worst state of roads and they are mostly Federal roads. We have invested so much and we have not been given any reprieve and [M_1] we are still ready to invest. For instance, Enugu State has
started constructing roads with weight control which is the latest development in the world and we don’t have that yet in place but we are getting there. Most of our roads were constructed many
years ago and cognizance was not taken on the likes of Dangote, Lafarge and other heavy duty trucks/vehicles”.

On the issue of compensation as regards the super highway, Hon. Asu disclosed that there is plan for compensation to communities and persons that would be affected, and that the first stage of clearing has been done from the deep seaport to Bekwarra and are now at the final stage of approval of the EIA to ensure an alternative route, stressing the need for Cross Riverians to learn to attract development to the state rather than striving to hinder government efforts, adding that the people should support the present administration of Senator Ben Ayade.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works, Mr. Charles Eyong, said that he resumed barely three months in the ministry and that he met staff behavior that is committed to achieving the core mandate of the ministry and the blueprint set out for 2016 in accord with the vision of Senator Ben Ayade.

Mr. Eyong said that he is committed to working to ensure a robust relation among staff, between staff, himself on one hand and the political head in the ministry as well as ensuring that staff are motivated to give their best to ensure the realization of the ministry’s mandate, adding that though challenges are enormous, but with the support and leadership style of the Commissioner for
works, Hon. Dane Osim Asu, those challenges are gradually being surmounted as the result are now becoming self-evident.

On his part, the Director of Civil, Ministry of Works, Engineer, Godwin Akeke, said that from the inception, the administration of Senator has been intervening on Federal roads and has expended
much in that direction amounting to the amount already stated and the intervention is still ongoing to bring respite to Cross Riverians and other Nigerians.

Engineer Akeke revealed that apart from the intervention on federal roads, a lot have been done in the area of rehabilitation of roads and filling of potholes in other roads and streets in Calabar as
well as working in synergy and providing technical services to other MDA’s and those saddled with the responsibilities as regards the super highway.

“It has been quite interesting since the administration of Senator Ben Ayade came on board. We work tirelessly, we work round theclock, despite the financial challenges, the dwindling economy,
and we have been working. Before the present administration came on board, we had issues of several failures on our roads within the metropolis, and we took the bull by the horn and I
think we have smoother roads/streets now and some new roads that have been created”.

On the level of intervention and the durability of such intervention, the Director of Civil disclosed that a road like the Akpabuyo road from the Navy barracks up to the Atimbo Bridge is highly
swampy, explaining that “we need to have an understanding of the soil formation we have here, the Akpabuyo road that is mentioned, we know how deplorable it was last year.

The Akpabuyo road from the Atimbo roundabout, it slopes and just after the Navy Barracks you start experiencing a swampy formation running up to the Atimbo Bridge. What we did was to
first carry out soil stabilization to stabilize the sub grade at that point with hardcore and raised the level of the road”, Akeke concluded.

The programme, “Ayade’s Cross River”, a government House production by Beatrice Akpala, Solomon Asha, and Emmanuel Ulayi is designed to enable government officials to render
stewardship of government policies, projects and programmes and explain the philosophy behind them, while at the same time providing opportunity to the people to ask questions and hold
government official accountable, as well as create understanding and robust relationship between the government and the governed.