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 the 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 Matthew Egbadon and the Public Relations Officer, Mr Tony Iyare, says 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 organisation, 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 approach of the 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 organisation 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 organisation 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 in deplorable condition, calling on the Edo State Government to urgently intervene on the following roads in the five LGAs in Esanland.
Esan West LGA
* Opoji Junction at Ekpoma-Ugbegun road leading to Opoji
* Egoro Naoka-Ujiogba-Ugbegun link roads
* Ihimudumu-Ujoelen-Iruekpen phase 2 road project, which was abandoned, after completion of the first phase.
* Ekpoma-Emuhi-Urohi road linking Ehor communities
* Ekpoma Eguare-Ukhun-Idoa road
* Ogwa-Ugun road
* There’s need for remedial action on many internal roads within Ekpoma that are also in deplorable state.
* Ebelle to Amahor road
* Ebelle-Okalo road
* Udo-Ewatto-Ewohimi road, to boost the tourist centre and the Udo rainstorms, built by the Ogbemudia regime.
* Ebelle-Ewohimi road. This will provide a shorter route to the farmlands of residents of these communities, who now have to meander through a longer route, via Ebelle to Ekpon to Ewohimi and to other neighbouring communities across the axis.
Esan Central LGA
* Irrua-Ujiabhole-Uzea, leading to Auchi and neighbouring communities.
* Irrua-Opoji road.
Esan North East LGA
* Uromi Angle 80 to Ubiaja-Ilushi road
* While the organisation commends the state government for building some roads around communities in Uromi, making them more accessible, it notes that they were apparently poorly supervised, which may affect their lifespan.
Esan South East LGA
* Ubiaja-Udo road
* Ubiaja-Ugboha road
* Emu-Emununkha-Urowa road connecting Iyenlen, the boundary town between Edo and Delta States.
* Ewatto-Ohordua road after the Ela’s River, from Ubiaja. Although this contract was awarded by the NDDC several years ago, nothing significant was done, making it another den for kidnappers and hoodlums, who prey on travelers, market women and farmers in the neighbouring communities.
* Ohordua-Emunokha road of Emu community that also leads to Eka, Aniocha and Asaba in Delta State.
* Ugboha-Ilushi, connecting Auchi, also needs to be revisited.
Esan Okpa urges Governor Godwin Obaseki to endevour to abide by his campaign promises to many of these communities and provide them succour 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-Ujoelen and Emuhi link roads, which were re-awarded few weeks ago.
The organisation also salute him (Senator Ordia) 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 organisation 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 30 years, before the World Bank came in to their rescue.