The abandonment of work by contractors handling the longest bridge on the Etebi – Enwang road in Mbo Local Government Area of the Oron Nation in Akwa Ibom State has been described as the “most disservice reward” to the people and visitors of the fishing area.
Speaking to correspondents who were on a tour to State Government project sites in Eket Senatorial District, the family head of Ukonteghe community where the abandoned long bridge is located, Chief Effiong Asuquo, lamented that “this abandoned bridge on this road, has completely cut off the economic life of our people.”
“This road is not passable, especially to motorists,” Chief Asuquo explained, as he pointed to the narrow side-walk used by pedestrians struggling to pass over the erosion dilapidated road. The chief added: “This happens only in the dry season like this period, but immediately the rainy season sets in, this place is fully flooded, so you can imagine the plight of the people here.”
Chief Asuquo, who revealed that construction work on the abandoned bridge started on December 2, 2007, noted that “three different construction firms had worked on the bridge without completion.”
He listed the construction firms as Semeong Nig. Ltd, Bulletin Construction Company and Amitec Construction and Development Ltd., disclosing that he was the first security man engaged by the first construction firm.
“Most of the giant iron rods on the abandoned bridge have since been vandalised by some irresponsible elements,” Chief Asuquo lamented.
“The economic importance of this bridge on this road cannot be over-emphasised, because it is this road that leads to the much-publicised Ibaka Deep Sea Port,” he said, appealing to the Godswill Akpabio administration to “come back and complete this project.”
Also speaking to the visiting journalists in his palace, the village head of Afi-Uda community, His Highness, Obong (Dr.) Clement Ekuwem, whose community co-inherits the abandoned bridge project, said: “I have written several letters to various governments about this road and this bridge, right from when we were in the former Cross River State and up till now the story has not changed.”
He lamented that “the community feels bad that the much-talked-about road with the bridge has not been completed up till now.” The royal father noted that other road projects undertaken by the state government, like the Aka-Etinan road and the Aka-Nung Udoe road, all from Uyo, among others lately awarded, “have been completed and put to use, but this bridge project is not half done.”
Receiving the journalists, His Highness, Obong (Dr) Clement Ekuwem, 74, elder brother to Bishop Joseph Ekuwem of the Catholic Church and current Chairman, Oron Nation Chairmen of Village Heads, enjoined Nigerians: “Let there be no war again. Instead let justice prevail, because justice belongs to God.”