The House of Representatives has called on the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, to facilitate a quick rehabilitation of the failed portions of the Onitsha-Owerri highway.
The House also resolved to investigate why sections of the Enugu-Port Harcourt and Enugu-Onitsha roads are failing despite being under reconstruction by various contractors.
At the plenary on Wednesday, members of the House from the South-East geopolitical zone led by the Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu, had jointly moved a motion of urgent public importance to seek immediate repairs for the Onitsha-Owerri road.
The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila; Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, and other principal officers of the House had also joined sponsorship of the motion, noting that it concerned a major infrastructure.
The motion was titled, ‘The Need to Avert a Humanitarian and Security Crisis Due to the Conditions of Onitsha-Owerri, Enugu-Port Harcourt and Enugu-Onitsha Federal Highways.’
Moving the motion, Okechukwu said, “The House notes that a gully has suddenly emerged on the Onitsha-Owerri expressway around Oraifite, Ekwusigo Local Government Area, Anambra State. This development has cut the expressway into two parts, leading to the entrapment of a fuel tanker laden with diesel in the gully.
“The House is aware that it took the intervention of the personnel of the Federal Road Safety Corps to ensure that the content of the trapped tanker was trans-loaded, while the remaining portion of the road remains closed, to avoid loss of lives.
“The House is concerned that the Onitsha–Owerri expressway offers a by-pass to several communities in the South-East as well as connects the South-East and South-South geopolitical zones of the country.
“The House is worried that the present condition of the road has made the road completely impassable, as the same poses great hardship to motorists, other road users, host communities and constitutes threat to the lives of the people; hence the need for urgent government intervention.”
The lawmaker also decried that several portions of the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway “are failing even while the contractors are still on the site.”
He further decried that rehabilitation work on the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway “has been abandoned as evident in the immense hardship being experienced by motorists and other road users in the Amansea section of the expressway.”
According to him, the economic well-being of the people is now in “serious jeopardy which can lead to a great humanitarian and security crisis.”
Okechukwu stated, “The House is cognisant of the precarious security situation across the nation, which may present opportunity to criminal elements to take undue advantage of these situations.”
Adopting the motion, the House “call on the Minister of Works and Housing to commence urgent emergency repairs of the failed portion of the Onitsha-Owerri expressway,” with a view to easing the hardships on the users.
The House also resolved to “investigate the ongoing failure of strategic portions of the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway while the contractor is still carrying out rehabilitation works” as well as ïnvestigate the abandonment of the rehabilitation of Enugu-Onitsha expressway which has led to the gory condition of the Amansea section of the expressway.”