Esan Okpa Initiative (EOI), a recently formed socio-cultural organisation concerned with the advancement of the Esan people, has strongly decried the poor state of infrastructure in Esanland, saying it has not only compounded the insecurity crisis in the area but may imperil its economy.
Calling for urgent intervention by federal and Edo State Governments to redress deplorable roads littering Esanland that it says, have become “death traps,” EOI asserted that “dilapidated roads and gully erosion have made it difficult to move blissfully from one point to another. The worse hit are farmers who now find it arduous to move their produce to the markets, thereby worsening the food crisis in Esanland.”
The organisation in a statement signed by its President, Rt Hon Mathew Egbadon and the Public Relations Officer, Mr. Tony Iyare, said the roads in Esanland comprising the five local governments in Edo Central, “have become craters and death traps.”
This it notes, has “compounded the insecurity crisis bedeviling the communities massed in Esanland, making it impossible for the people and particularly farmers to move their products to the markets.”
“With huge unemployment staring the people in the face owing to lack of Industrialisation, our largely agrarian communities can ill afford any impediments to agricultural production already reeling from insecurity crisis pervading our communities.”
The organization, which is not particularly happy with the slow pace of work on the Benin-Auchi road, awarded for dualisation several years ago, wants urgent action by the federal government, to hasten work on the road which now appears abandoned.
“Apart from the virtually abandoned Benin-Auchi road which has left craters around Opoji and Ujoelen junctions in Ekpoma, rendering the road impassable, many dread the approaching rainy season that will further imperil commuting in that section particularly for trailers and heavy duty trucks ferrying goods between the south and the northern parts of the country.
“There’s also the need to hasten work on the dualisation of the Uromi-Igueben-Ebelle-Igbaken-Agbor junction road to prevent the rate of carnage that occurs regularly on the road.
“Priority needs to be given to the Iruekpen-Sabo-Ifon road rehabilitation project being undertaken by the Federal Government which has also been abandoned, creating a haven for hoodlums and kidnappers within the area,” it maintains.
The organization also observed that the Uromi – Uzea federal road, earlier started by former Minister of Works, Architect Mike Onolemenmen, which is now in decrepit state poses serious danger to residents particularly those living in Uzea.
It observes that the location of a railway terminal at Ohe village on the Irrua/Uzea road has not provided respite to the lot of the people as hoodlums and kidnappers take over the road impairing social life.
The organization is also disturbed that the Ewu erosion/gully ecological project, being funded by the federal government is still not completed after many years. “That this menace has virtually split the town into two should have dictated more haste,” it quips.
Esan Okpa says it is equally disheartening that many of the state roads are also in deplorable condition, calling on the Edo State Government to urgently intervene on the following roads in the five LGAs in Esanland.
The group has therefore, urged Governor Godwin Obaseki to endevour to abide by his campaign promises to many of these communities and provide them succor by redressing these roads that are virtually in shreds.
It, however, commends the efforts of Senator Clifford Ordia, representing the Edo Central Senatorial District, for facilitating the re-construction of the Irrua-Opoji Ekpoma, Ujeolen and Emuhi link roads which were re-awarded few weeks ago.
The organization also saluted him for ensuring the completion of the Usugbenu – Uromi road, started by the former Minister of Works and Housing, Arch. Mike Onolemenmen.
It also commends Hon. Sergius Ogun, a member of the House of Representatives, who has facilitated the construction of some of the abandoned bridges and roads in his constituency.
The organization also appreciates the efforts of another Esan son who influenced the first phase of the World Bank funded Emu/Ohordua gully erosion project which first phase was completed in November 2021.
This erosion had ravaged the Obolo and Ibhiadan communities for over thirty years, before the World Bank came in to their rescue.