Sunday, 30 April 2017

News Release: CLO Raises Alarm Over Collapsing Bridges In Awka

Governor Obiano of Anambra State

It was in the “Nite of  a thousand laffs” series owned by
 movie maker, Opa Williams that  a comedian once blurted out that the “difference between plantain chips and kpekere, lies in the packaging”.  Such is the actual scenario in Anambra under the Obiano administration. While the outsiders hail the “unprecedented” achievements of the administration because of the media package while those inside have refused to look critically owing to certain interests, the actual truth is that the government is making efforts according to its capacity but what is actually happening compared to the package dished out to the public can be called “Decorative and Cosmetic Governance”

The CLO is worried that the Anambra State which should be a pace setter in all indices of governance in the South East is experiencing the beauty of the grave yard. The aesthetics easily seen by all is glowing in ethereal beauty and the slogan is that “Willie is working” but no one is actually asking questions.

The much hyped 3 modern flyovers in Awka capital city is actually an eye sore and have constituted a problem instead of solution. When the likes of Mazi Odera on the social media described it as “Okwabe Ikwube and Monument of Cement”, some dismissed him as someone who never saw anything good in the present government. But looking at it critically, Odera might have said the gospel truth. The government has not disclosed the actual amount used in constructing the flyover bridges. While it was rumoured to have been jerked from its initial N5 billion naira to N15 billion, some say the actual variation cost is N8.5b but the governor in an interactive session witnessed by the CLO Chairman here, simply dodged the question thrown by a journalist on the actual cost and said that “the cost of the bridges is far lower than all the speculations”.

But the most annoying is not even the issue of cost only but the shoddy job done on the project.  The flyovers because of its unprofessional construction instead of easing traffic flow in Awka is a constricting the flow  . One can easily spot the difference from  the recent comparism between flyovers constructed by the Umahi administration in Ebonyi with that of Anambra under Obiano which trended in the social media recently.

In Obiano’s flyovers located at Amawbia, Akwata and Arroma junctions, all in Awka,   cracks have set in from the foundation level in several parts of the bridge and there is the danger of the bridge collapsing anytime owing to poor construction. To confirm the fears of the attentive public, government recently mounted cross bars in the bridge restricting articulated vehicles from plying through the bridges. Of what use is the structure then if articulated vehicles cannot access them thereby returning the Awka metropolis to more suffering.  The shoddy job has compounded the problem instead of providing solution. We call for a probe of this contract while the government should take the blame for this embarrassment and seek for solutions immediately to avert an impending calamity and stop hyping it as one its core achievements. It is shameful!

We are seeing street lights in various parts of the state and road sweepers across the major highways of Awka and Onitsha.  These are quite commendable and we sing in unison too in CLO that “Willie is Working” but after seeing street lights and sweepers but you cannot access your home because of failed road portions and mounds of refuse heaps, it becomes a serious anticlimax.

The government may be doing the populist programs and earning applause for them but the sameguy government in Anambra presently has a slant regard for the environment.

Presently, in Awada and environs, there is ghost scare in town because the dead littered in the closed Onitsha public cemetery can no more rest in peace.  There is no public cemetery in the whole of Onitsha leading to public incineration/ emergency cremation of corpses dumped in the former cemetery located at Oraifite Street, Awada which private developers annexed, bought and built houses there with the backing of government officials leaving out a little space not up to one plot which the St. Michaels Catholic Church had to now seal up because of the closeness of the place to their parish rectory.

The implication was that during the mass burial of the unidentified victims of the Onitsha Upper Iweka tanker fire in 2016, government had to borrow space from the Anglican Church cemetery in Obosi to bury the dead unidentified victims.

Epidemic also looms in Onitsha presently as a result of garbage dumps littered across different parts of the city. There is the waste management authority in the state coupled with the complementary efforts of the local governments but from Awada, to Nkpor down to Fegge cris- crossing Woliwo, Oguta Road, Silas Works, Upper Iweka , Bridge Head etc, filth occasioned by non cleared refuse dumps is everywhere, yet traders and residents pay the sanitation levies to the state government .

Government is called upon to act immediately on this twin issues because the people deserves better.

(Excerpt from the 23 pages report of the South East Zone of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO)  after their Zonal Management Committee (ZMC) meeting in Onitsha recently as presented by the Zonal Chair, Comrade Aloysius Attah, 08035090548,

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