Reporter: UGONNA AGU

Commuters and drivers plying Owerri-Orlu Road in Imo State have decried the deplorable condition of the road and its attendant hardship.

According to them, the road becomes a serious challenge anytime it rains, making a journey of less than forty-five minutes last up to two hours.

They called on the state government to mobilize Julius Berger construction company to site so that work could commence on the road.

Imo State Government in July 2020 signed a memorandum of understanding with a construction company, Julius Berger to construct Owerri-Orlu and Owerri-Okigwe road.

The State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, on the occasion assured residents that the project would be delivered within the shortest period of time.

“There is no doubt in my mind, managing prudency within resources at our disposal, under very good constructive engaging, we are going to afford the cost of construction by Julius Berger,” Governor Uzodimma earlier stated.

Three months later, some of the drivers plying the Owerri-Orlu road, who pleaded anonymity, have called on the Federal Government to come to their aid and relive them of the untold hardship they are facing.

According to them, the wide and deep potholes and flood on the road do not only cause disturbing gridlock, but also damage their vehicles.

“We heard when our Governor said that he has signed MOU with Julius Berger, but we have not seen any sign of Julius Berger in this state.

“Concerning Owerri-Orlu Rroad, we normally see it on the internet or television, but the road is too bad. In short, there is no road,” the road users lamented.

A passenger, Mr. Enerst Ogboo, who plies the road to work daily lamented the extra time spent on the road and the increase in transportation fare due to bad condition of the road.

“Before, they used to collect two hundred for bus, but now we pay four hundred,” they cried out.

Meanwhile the Imo State Commissioner for Works, Mr. Ralph Nwosu, expressed regret with the Federal Government’s pronouncement that it would not re-emburse any State Government that used its money to fix any federal road, noting that it was their major constraint.

“Notwithstanding, we intend to go ahead with the construction with Julius Berger, but we are looking at cost that the state government can bear. We cannot go beyond what we can carry,” the Works Commissioner pointed out.

Mr Nwosu said the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Works, had intervened on that road and assured Imo residents that work would commence as soon as the rain subsided.