Governor Bassey Otu has commended the Senate for its effort at the completion of the East-West Road, while making case for more funding for the state.
The governor made this known when he hosted the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on the East-West Road at the Dan Archibong Lodge, Calabar, on Tuesday, a statement by Emmanuel Ogbeche, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor said.
“The East-West Road is one of the several critical infrastructures that have been left to decay in our country over time. Even in this period of palliatives, if there is anything worse than not having the palliatives, then it is when the main arteries that connect the state and should help in carrying the palliatives are not there,” Otu told the Senator Abdul Ningi-led committee.
Speaking further, Governor Otu said there was need for modifications to the East-West Road drawings into Calabar to avoid traffic snarl as witnessed in some major cities in the country.
The governor used the opportunity to draw attention to the Calabar-Ogoja Expressway, which he said, was in no better shape and expressed the confidence that the President Tinubu administration will rise to the occasion and provide the much-needed infrastructural repairs and upgrade.
Also, Senator Otu noted that Cross River State has suffered over the Green Tree Treaty, which ceded part of the state to a foreign country, leading to loss of its littoral assets.
“We have borne and bearing the pain of the country over the Greentree Agreement and it is only fair that Nigeria does right by our state. We need more interventions and my hope is that your committee, though ad-hoc in nature, will present our case to the Senate and ease our burden,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Senator Ningi said the East-West Road which is supposed to represent fairness and justice of a major economic hub of the country has not met that aspiration even by four succeeding presidents starting from Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yarádua, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari.
“We have traversed the East-West Road from Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and now Cross River, it is disturbing what we have found in the course of this assignment, the inability of the overseeing agencies of government to come together and give the road the much needed attention.
“There is complete lack of synergy between the NDDC, Federal Ministry of Works, FERMA and the states which the road passes through.
“After the first leg of this assignment, we are going to have a 2-day public hearing on why the East-West Road has remained as it is uncompleted. Who are the contractors, what have they received, so that people will not just collect money from the federal government and disappear,” Ningi said.
Bemoaning the state of the Calabar-Itu Highway, Senator Ningi said, “I have never seen and experienced what we saw on that road anywhere. Thousands of trucks stuck in traffic with little or no motion. If we didn’t have the military with us and even at that, we spent over six hours plus on a major highway.
“So, I believe that something urgent needs to be done including the fifth and final stage of the East-West Road, which is the Calabar-Oron end of the road.
“Yes there is infrastructural deficit across the country, but what we witnessed was something else on that road.”
Senator Ningi praised Governor Otu for his administrative acumen and hoped that he will bring his legislative experience to bear in the affairs of the state and urged Cross Riverians to give the governor the much needed support to succeed.
Some members on the team include Senator Ikra Bilbis, the clerk of committee, Foluke Ogunbayo, the South-South Zonal Director of Federal Ministry of Works, Engr. Clement Ogbuagu, amongst others.