The present state of major roads in Warri and environs leaves much to be desired as residents groan without any foreseeable sight of respite. EBENEZER ADUROKIYA recounts the daily ugly experiences of the suffering lot amid aristocratic opulence.
Approaching Warri from the Sapele axis, particularly to a first timer, creates an impression of a neglected oil-rich city. The experience on the road is nightmarish.
Not even the hurried effort of the Delta State government exerted some months ago to ameliorate the sufferings of road users by fixing a few terrible portions of the Federal road could bring a lasting respite.
The yawning ditches while approaching the army checkpoint in front of Mercyland camp ground are reasons for perpetual traffic gridlock that delays motorists for hours.
Some people would insinuate that wherever army checkpoints are mounted, it takes only a few weeks to find that portion of the road riddled with potholes! Could it be connivance between ubiquitous road hawkers and the khaki boys to carry out their duties?
If the Federal road linking Benin and Warri and Effurun-Warri-Sapele roads are gradually becoming impassable and are subsequently neglected because its custodians are far away in Abuja, how about major and minor roads within Warri and satellite communities which belong to the state government?
The bypass at the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) axis towards Ugbuwangwe has assumed the status of a failed road. Ditto NPA expressway and Ekpan bypass under the bridge.
Yet, year in, year out, after much hue and cry, perfunctory jobs are carried out, but that has not happened since the inception of the present government.
The road to Ubeji, now ludicrously tagged: “the Ubeji nightmare” is another troubled road. Other bad roads annoyingly hindering good life and commerce in metropolis include the one at Shaguolor by Warri Refinery, Jakpa Road by Sokoh Estate Road, NNPC Housing Complex Road through to Edjeba by College of Education to Airport Road as well as Okere-Ogborikoko Road spanning through Warri to Effurun, among others.
Today, the poor state of roads within Warri metropolis has subjected commuters, motorists and students to hard times.
The roads are characterized by large pot holes, stagnant water, gridlock, and in some extreme cases, damaging objects that keep motorists perpetually on the trail of their mechanics.
Speaking on the need for the state government to act fast particularly on the Warri – Effurun – Sapele road, a tricycle (keke) operator, Ohis, who has been on the occupation for three years said in pidgin: “The road you see here is bad because maintenance was not done by government. This BRT lane is in bad shape.
“The government said it has plans to repair the road and make it good for all of us, yet we have not seen anything up till now. It has been long since they put the slabs to divide the road, but these slabs are now part of the problems of the road.
“We hear that Governor Okowa has commissioned roads everywhere, why haven’t they done this one? Here is a busy road in the whole town; everyday people travel on this road. If they repair this road, everyone will benefit.”
A trader, Madam Afoke, said: “Last week, early in the morning, there was heavy rainfall, and the road was completely flooded and the road became congested. I took ‘keke’ from Enerhen junction to Effurun market, but the ‘go-slow’ delayed me for almost 30 minutes because all motorists had to use just one of the road. Let the authorities repair the road and make it good for us.”
Also speaking, a keke operator, who preferred not to disclose his identity, said “This road is supposed to concern everybody!
“I am from this Uvwei LGA; all these boys who collect ticket money in the name of ‘taskforce,’ what do they use the money for?
“If they are government taskforce, why don’t they maintain the road for government?”
Motorists have also abandoned the deplorable Apala Road in Warri. Apala Road at Okumagba Estate is host to many shopping malls. But owners of shops are beginning to shy away from the area as a result of the deplorable state of roads.
A resident of Osiobe Street, Alex Nwose who also spoke on the state of roads, stated that the road which is now impassable has been abandoned
because the Delta State government pays less attention to the roads in Warri including Apala Road.
Nwose noted that the state of Apala road has forced dirty waters into
the compounds and houses of some residents in Apala and Osiobe streets.
Nwose also appealed to the Delta State governor, Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa to urgently approve the construction of the road and save the residents and motorists from the hardship they are passing through.
Meanwhile, the state government, at inception last year, fixed Jeddo Road to the admiration of residents of the area.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Delta State, Mr. Charles Ehiedu Aniagwu, while acknowledging the pains residents of Warri are going through, appreciated them for voting for the PDP and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in 2015.
“As a government, we welcome people who asked for what they actually deserve; we are aware that a number of communities across the state needed attention, but because of the paucity of funds available, we have not been able to reach out to them.
“If you access properly, we have done a lot of things for communities across the state, even in Ughelli, the handwork of government is there.
“They should bear with us and continue to support the government until the revenue improves.
“Once the revenue improves, governor Okowa will continue to bring prosperity to all part of Delta State,” Aniagwu noted.
Another official of the government, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the state is broke, just as the IGR and federal allocation are so paltry that it cannot be channelled to arrest the situation at present.