5th October, 2021
By Ihechinyere Chigemeri-Uwom/Umuahia
Some Students of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU) in Abia on Monday embarked on a peaceful protest against the deplorable state of Umuahia -Ikot Ekpene road in the state.
Scores of students carried placards bearing messages such as “Fix Umuahia-Ikot-Ekpene road”, “Enough is Enough”, “I want to graduate and be a corper not a corpse” among others.
And they marched through major streets of Umuahia, capital of Abia state.
They expressed their displeasure over the inability of the Federal Government to fix the road and blamed its poor state for the accidents that had claimed lives of students of the school.
They called for immediate action to alleviate the sufferings of road users.
Mr Chukwuma Ugochukwu, the President of Students’ Union Government (SUG) of MOUAU, said that the state of the road had plunged road users into untold hardship.
Ugochukwu said: ”Yesterday, a student of MOUAU was killed in an autocrash that involved an SUV and a Truck which occurred on the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene road.
“We are no longer comfortable with that road. We are asking that this road should be looked into with immediate effect.
“This road has caused the school so much loss and we seek immediate government attention on the road.
“We are giving four days ultimatum to the state government to commence the palliative works on the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene road”.
Also, Mr James Daniel, a student of MOUAU, said that the deplorable state of the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene road had led to loss of many lives, especially students of MOUAU.
“In 2019, we were told that the road has been awarded, but the only work that we have seen is the construction of drainages leaving the road undone,” Daniel added.
Mr Somto Chukwu, another student of MOUAU, said that the incessant occurrence of accidents on the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene road was a call on the government to match their words with action.
Chukwu said that it was unfortunate that the road had been awarded several times but nothing indicated that approval had been given for the reconstruction of the road.
He said that the spate of accidents that had led to the demise of students was alarming and appealed to government at all levels to do the needful.
Mr Chris Ezem, the Secretary to the State Government, said that the state government was committed to leaving a legacy of good roads infrastructure.
“We are not playing politics with the road and cannot afford to loose anymore lives on the road and our sympathy goes to the family of the deceased,” Ezem said.
He described the road as a significant factor in the achievement of socioeconomic development in Abia and added that the Commissioner for Works would commence inspection of the road.
Ezem said that the road in question was a federal road, and added that the state government would commence palliative works on the road to make it passable