Motorists, commuters and residents along ever busy Itobe -Ajaokuta-Okene have appealed to the federal government to take urgent action on its deplorable condition by re-awarding the contract to a more credible firm.
The Ajaokuta-Itobe-Okene road, which links North/South to the Eastern parts of the country, has been in deplorable condition for a long time.
The portion of the road, which has become a nightmare for many road users over the years, spans from the Geregu Power Plant in Ajaokuta down to the Niger Bridge end of the road.
The federal government in 2015, awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of the entire stretch of the road.
The road project, with contract number 06260, was awarded to SCOA Nigeria Plc, and was to be completed in 18 months.
The contract was to cover the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the dual carriageway, from Geregu Power Plant end of the Lokoja-Ajaokuta road, down to the Niger Bridge end at Itobe.
It was also meant to cover the stretch of road from Ajaokuta-Adogo-Okene, which had equally remained in a deplorable condition for several years.
However, five years after the contract was awarded, nothing much has been done on the road with its condition further deteriorating by the day making motorists and commuters to groan.
The state of the road caught media attention recently when an amateur video alleging that the Niger bridge was on the verge of collapse went viral.
Federal Ministry of Works officials told newsmen that the contract for the highway was on the verge of being revoked due to underperformance by the firm handling it, adding that the project would be re-awarded to a more competent company.
Many motorists and commuters applauded the move, saying Scoa Motors has shown that it lacked competence and the required know how to handle a project of that magnitude.
A resident of Geregu, Mr Itokpa Sule said, “this road has been in this deplorable condition for over 20 years. In times past, we have heard that budgetary allocations were made for the road, but we never saw any work done.
“Lucky enough, about five years ago, we saw that project for the road rehabilitation was awarded to SCOA company. We were very excited about it. They started the work but unfortunately, they didn’t go far before they abandoned it. Where they even began from, they couldn’t complete.
“They were to do the road from Niger Bridge to Okene but they didn’t go far before the work slowed down,” he lamented, adding he was happy with the plan to re-award the contract to another firm.
Another resident, Malam Abdullahi Usman urged the state government to temporarily intervene by grading the road to make it easily accessible to motorists, while awaiting federal government’s action on the matter.
A motorist, Chukwudi Anthony said the situation was pathetic during the wet season with rain water forming ponds everywhere.
“The road will be smooth from Abuja until you get to this area; you have to struggle to get through and sometimes our vehicles get stuck and developed fault in the process. So we are appealing to the federal government to consider the strategic nature of this road by fixing it,” he noted.