Addressing the Harrowing State of the Onitsha-Owerri Expressway: A Call for Urgent Action
The Onitsha-Owerri Expressway, a critical arterial road connecting motorists from the historic Old Niger Bridge to various parts of the vibrant South-East states, has been plagued by an increasingly dire situation. This essential route, once a lifeline for the residents of Anambra State and the entire South-East region, has fallen into disrepair, causing anguish, danger, and frustration for those who rely on it daily. In this article, we shed light on the distressing condition of the road, the impact on road users, the calls for government intervention, and the urgent need for a lasting solution.
The Current Predicament
Our correspondent’s visit to the Upper Iweka end of the Onitsha-Owerri Expressway revealed a shocking reality. The road, from the vicinity of the Old Niger Bridge through the Mgbaemene, Enamel, Amanator, and Metallurgical sections, has become an eyesore. Stagnant water and heaps of refuse have accumulated in the numerous deep potholes that now mar the once-smooth surface of the road. The state of disrepair is not only a visual blight but also a serious hazard to all road users.
Calls for Government Intervention
Motorists navigating through the treacherous stretches of the road have voiced their plights and concerns, urging both the state and federal governments to take immediate action. Despite being a federal road, the dire situation has prompted desperate appeals for palliatives to be provided. The bad portions of the Onitsha-Owerri Expressway have not only disrupted daily commutes but have also turned into a den for criminals, with reports of armed robberies and vehicle snatching becoming distressingly common.
The Voices of the Road Users
Timothy Irene, a veteran motorist with over three decades of experience plying this route, lamented the current state of the road. He expressed deep frustration at the lack of a permanent solution, emphasizing that the road’s importance goes beyond mere infrastructure – it’s a lifeline for the entire South-East region. Irene’s words resonate with countless others who have seen the road deteriorate over the years, with no meaningful intervention in sight.
A Cry for Action
The frustration extends beyond just the poor road conditions; it reaches the heart of government responsibility. Both state and federal governments have seemingly ignored the pleas of the residents and road users. Uche, another motorist who frequents this route, blames the state government for the prolonged neglect of the road. Tragic incidents, like the loss of a loved one due to the bad condition of the road, highlight the urgency of the situation.
The Role of Federal Road Maintenance Agency
When contacted for clarification, the Coordinator of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FEMA) for the South-East zone, Paul Okeke, cited paucity of funds as the primary reason for the lack of maintenance on the Onitsha-Owerri Expressway. He explained that the recent focus on the Second Niger Bridge project has diverted resources, making it challenging to address the pressing issues of the Onitsha-Owerri Expressway.
The Need for Swift and Comprehensive Action
While it’s understandable that resource allocation may pose challenges, the Onitsha-Owerri Expressway’s significance cannot be understated. It serves as a vital link for commerce, transportation, and daily life for the people of Anambra State and the entire South-East region. Immediate action is needed to address the road’s poor condition, and it’s crucial to find a sustainable solution that prevents it from returning to disrepair after every rain.
Conclusion: A Call for Change
The current state of the Onitsha-Owerri Expressway is unacceptable. It’s not just about a road; it’s about the well-being, safety, and livelihoods of thousands of people who rely on this route. The time for action is now. We urge the authorities, both at the state and federal levels, to prioritize the repair and maintenance of this critical roadway. We cannot allow this situation to persist, endangering lives and impeding progress. Let us come together and demand the attention this issue deserves. The people of Anambra State and the South-East region deserve better.