Two years after President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned Naze/Nekede/Ihiagwa/Obinze link road, in Owerri West Local Government Area, residents, students, and other road users have decried the difficulties they face daily due to the deplorable condition of the abandoned portion.
The bad portion is within Ihiagwa community, a short cut to the popular Port Harcourt Road, Owerri.
DAILY POST reports that the Ihiagwa community is home to thousands of people, including students of the Federal University of Technology Owerri, FUTO, and Police Training School, which the community hosts.
Narrating the community’s ugly experience, Chief Bona Njoku, a community leader, who spoke with DAILY POST correspondent, blamed the road for economic hardship and several fatal accidents that have claimed lives, including students.
He said, “Ihiagwa road is never good, both during the rainy and dry seasons. Whenever there is rain, the road is always marshy and becomes difficult for one to drive.
“Also, during the dry season, what one sees is a dusty road that turns one’s clothes reddish-brown. Even commercial bus drivers no longer ply the road. We’ve all got no choice but to use Okada and what do you expect? We pay two or three times what we used to pay”.
A resident, Chibuike Oforum said it is regrettable that President Muhammadu Buhari during his one-day working visit to the state 2 years ago was outrightly deceived by his host about the road.
Ofurum described the road as a death trap, appealing to those in authority to come to their rescue in the Ihiagwa community.
Another resident, Destiny Onyeriri said the road had caused untold hardship for the people, as most economic and social activities in the area have been grounded to a halt following the state of the road, calling on the state government and appropriate authorities to rescue them and fix the road.
According to him, “I’m from Emeabiam, a neighbouring community in Owerri West, and my people are going through untold hardship.
“The Naze/Nekede/Ihiagwa/Obinze connecting road, for instance, was inadequately constructed and unfinished.”
Similarly, FUTO students, commercial drivers and locals have urged the state government to ensure that the road is completed soonest.
“It is either President Buhari was intentionally misled by his host regarding the condition of the road, or he blatantly disregarded investigating the real condition of the road before consenting to carry out that function,” a student said.
Junior Onyeubi, a final year student of Federal Polytechnic Nekede, said: “we learnt that the fear of the road makes most students of the institution remain within Nekede except on vacations.
“The first thing you consider is the amount you are giving the motorcycle rider, the second thing is the stress and risk one passes through on that road.
“As far as I know, students rarely leave during school session. When the road is muddy during the rainy season, we experience hell.”
A motorcycle rider by the name Thankgod Ugochukwu claimed he and his friends overcharge customers in order to cover the stress and damage the road causes to their motorcycle.
“Buses rarely stop here. They are unable to drive. Not all Okada visit this location, particularly when it rains. Hence, some of us take the risk while taking into account the harm the road will do to our machine, and we add that to the transportation fee,” he said.
Gov. Hope Uzodinma had earlier said that the road would be constructed in phases, stressing that the commissioned part was phase one of the road project.
In a release signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Oguwuike Nwachukwu, the governor stated that “the road is only an addition to the 46 solid roads including the Muhammadu Buhari Avenue which houses the Federal Secretariat that has been already commissioned.