By Yemi Itodo
Traditional rulers in Benue state, as well as youths and women have taken the cry to President Muhammadu Buhari over the deplorable state of Otukpo-Ugboju-Onyagede-Ankpa federal road.
The road which connects the northern part of the country to the entire south, through Ankpa in kogi state, was last rehabilitated in 1991, when General Muhammadu Buhari was the Chairman of Petroleum Trust Developennt Fund (PTDF).
Speaking with our Correspondent on Sunday, the first class traditional ruler of Ugboju district in Otukpo local government, Chief Solomon Apochi, said the deplorable state of the road had reached alarming rate, saying the people had waited for too long for the government interventions.
He said, the entire community has been cut off from neighbouring towns and cities as the road has been impassable over the years, which had adversely affected commercial activities of the people who are predominantly commercial farmers.
Also speaking, member representing Adoka/Ugboju constituency at the Benue House of Assembly, Barr. John Adams Okloho, said the sorry state of the road has also caused intending investors to abandon some choice communities along the road.
Okloho stressed that, “it is only Dangote trucks that are seen daily in their large numbers, conveying coals from Onyagede axis to their factory”.
The lawmaker regretted that, the Dangote trucks were largely responsible for the current state of the road and wondered why the richest man in Africa did not contemplate fixing the 47 kilometers road, by way of corporate social responsibility.
On his part, the Paramount ruler of Onyagede in Ohimini local government, Chief Ogili Adamu, attributed the poor condition of living in the community to the comatose state of the federal road.
“We are the largest producer of cassava flour (Garri) and every market day, over 50 trucks would queue to load Garri to the north, the east and the west, but today is the market day and the turnout is abismally low as farmers can no longer access the market with their goods”.
Chief Adamu therefore called on President Buhari to come to the aide of the people, adding that, reconstruction of the road would also reduce the spate of crimes and insecurity that are currently plaguing the community.
Those who spoke with our Correspondent also include market women and commercial motorcycle riders, who lamented the present state of the road, describing it as “death trap and den of robbers”.
They, however, expressed confidence that President Buhari would harken to their cries, saying, he did it for them as PTDF chairman and now that he is in charge of the country, he would hopefully come to their aid.
The people said, they collectively resolved to vote Buhari in 2015, stressing that, it was only that constituency that delivered massively for Buhari and his party in the entire Benue South.
Recall that the House of Representatives, through a motion moved by member representing Otukpo/Ohimini federal constituency, Hon Ezekiel Adaji, on the 2nd August 2017, had passed a resolution mandating the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing, to include the road in the 2018 budget proposal.
It was also gathered reliably that, the Honourable Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola had given approval for the reconstruction of the 47-kilometer road, following a letter of complaint by a veteran Journalist, Nats Onoja Agbo early last year. Despite that, nothing seems to have been done on the road.