Residents of Calabar, the Cross River capital, have commended the Federal Government for awarding contract for the reconstruction of the dilapidated Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene highway.
A cross section of those who expressed their appreciation in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar on Sunday, described it as a “positive development.”
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the N54 billion contract for the reconstruction of the highway on May 3.
The road would link Cross River with Akwa Ibom.
The residents of Calabar said that the road was crucial to them and the economy because it served as major entry route to the state.
A resident, Dr Joseph Odok, said the award of the contract showed the commitment of the present administration to the development of all regions of the country.
Odok, a lecturer at University of Calabar, said the road had been in bad shape for years, adding that remedial work on it had yielded no results.
He, however, urged the Federal Government to monitor the contractors closely, saying that contracts had been awarded severally in the past for its rehabilitation with little or no work done.
He said “the Calabar axis of the road that connects Itu-Ikot Ekpene is the only land route to Calabar main city.
“Each time that road is blocked, Calabar is automatically blocked. I commend the Federal Government for awarding the contract. I am optimistic the project will be completed on time.”
A civil servant, Mrs Theresa Ogban, told NAN that the reconstruction of the road would further enhance economic activities within the state and beyond.
Ogban, who noted that the reconstruction of the road would alleviate the plight of commuters, said it would also create jobs for the skilled and unskilled youths in the area.
Mr Jeremiah Okon, a commercial driver who plied the Calabar-Uyo axis of the road daily, said that the near total collapse of the highway was due to long years of neglect.
Okon also expressed hope that when completed, there would be smooth traffic on the road, adding that his regular visits to mechanic workshops to repair his car would end.