By Emeka Nwokocha
The residents of Onwugbonu Crescent, Sam Okaka, Erukaye, and Ejumudo-Agofure streets in New layout, Ekpan, Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State, have decried the deplorable condition of the roads in their streets, and called on the new management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Delta State Government to lessen their burden by fixing the roads.
Narrating their ordeal recently, the residents expressed dismay over nonchalant posturing of the NDDC management towards their plight, saying that they had been burdened with the bad state of the roads with a huge toll on them more than a decade.
According to the Chairman of Sam-Okaka Street, Captain Mike Timiyan, the streets have been in a lamentable condition over ten years, noting that NDDC had been nonchalant towards persistent call on them (NDDC) by residents of the streets to fix the roads in the past years.
Continuing, Timiyan noted that the residents of the three streets (Onwugbonu Crescent, Erukaye, Sam-Okaka and Agofure-Ejumudo streets) had their hope dashed when the contract for construction of the roads was awarded to a contractor by NDDC, over a decade ago, but noted that when the gutters had been constructed, the contractor packed his equipment and left, abandoning the roads.
In the same vein, the Chairman of Onwugbonu Crescent, Pastor Clement Onwugbonu, expressed concern about the bad state of the roads, wondering why the construction of Onwugbonu Crescent, Erukaye, Sam-Okaka and Agofure-Ejumudo streets were abandoned while other streets in the neighbourhood were fully paved.
“This road (referring to Onwugbonu Crescent) was under construction about a decade ago, the gutters were done, but after that the contractor disappeared, neither did we see NDDC again. This road (pointing at the flooded portions of the road) is always flooded when during raining season and we swon through the pool of water with our vehicles; you can imagine the damage it does to our vehicles. Even our children and entire families are often exposed to grave risks occasioned by the gullies created on the road. We have suffered too much as a result of the bad state of these untarred roads, the reason we are calling on NDDC, and Delta state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa to come to our aid quickly,” he stated.
In similar reactions, the Chairman of Erukaye and Agofure-Ejumudo streets, Mr. Victor Ejumudo and Comr. Charles Uvietoborie, described the development as unfortunate, saying, “the fact that only our streets are left in terrible condition while other streets around the vicinity have been fixed by NDDC, remains a puzzle to us. We feel humiliated by the unjustifiable treatment meted out to us by NDDC.”
Continuing, the duo said, “during raining season, we drive our cars in pools of water, our children are seriously endangered by the flooded gullies in the roads. Even the psychological trauma the bad state of the roads unleashes on our families can better be imagined.”
They appealed to NDDC to fix the roads urgently to address the detestable infrastructure deficit of the streets.
Pouring out their grievances, Mr. Julius Adoghe, and Mr. Wilson Omokheowa, pioneer landlords of Onwugbonu Crescent, said urgent attention from NDDC Management, and Delta State Government was needed to fix the roads, even as they expressed disgust at the “I don’t care attitude” on the part of those in charge of the affairs of NDDC towards the complaints about the deplorable state of the roads.
Asked if they knew why the contractor abandoned the roads, the residents said they had been left in the dark, saying that all efforts to get the attention of NDDC to their complaints were to no avail, even as several appeals to them (NDDC) to fix the roads had been thwarted by empty promise by those in charge of the affairs of the Commission.
A trader, who spoke on condition of anonymity said “for the past ten years, the condition of the roads has not improved in this part of New layout. During rainy season, we suffer too much; it has always been a horrible experience for us living here and all efforts to get Delta state government, and NDDC to fix the roads have been abortive.”
The reaction of Mrs. Mabel Onwugbonu, proprietor of Bright Field International Group of Schools, was no less pathetic, as she lamented the bad state of Onwugbonu Crescent. Saying, “it slows the growth of business in this area,” even as she called on NDDC and Delta State Government to fix the road to justify the residents’ contributions, as tax payers, to the development of the economy of the state.