As Federal Government mulls the re-introduction of toll gates on highways, Delta Governor, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, says the projects should be given to credible companies that will utilize the funds for regular maintenance of the roads.
He made the call on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, in Asaba at the quarterly media briefing.
Governor Okowa said that roads were failing across the country and that the Federal Government was overwhelmed, pointing out that, the nation’s economy was going down “and with competing needs, there is need to provide for toll gates in functioning roads.
“They should concession these roads to competent companies and the money made should be ploughed back to continue the maintenance of the roads where the toll gates are located.
“It is far cheaper to pay for tolls on good roads than spend money on maintenance of your cars, with the attendant delays and inconveniences as a result of bad roads.
“We would have preferred that Federal Government either repaired the roads or made refunds when states reconstruct the roads, because most of the roads have started to fail, more so, when bigger heavy duty vehicles are on roads not envisaged during design and construction.”
Speaking on-going road constructions in the State, Governor Okowa said the state government was accelerating completion of Ughelli-Asaba dual carriageway to accommodate expected heavy traffic from Warri Port when dredging of second part of Escravos bar would be completed by the Federal Government
According to him, my administration is working round the clock to complete the dualisation of Ughelli-Asaba road because of its importance in the evacuation of goods from the port.
He said that in May, 2015, there were some projects that his government chose as priority and that one of them was the Ughelli-Asaba road.
The Governor explained that the previous administration had nearly completed Section B of the project, which was divided into three phases, adding that session C, from Ossissa to Asaba, which was the area slowing down the completion of the project would be concluded between November, 2019 and April, 2020.
“Work has started earnestly at the Section C that is Asaba/Ogwashi-Uku/Ossissa road. All these work are being done because these roads are very critical to us.
“It is going to ease movement between Warri and Ughelli, through Asaba to Onitsha and now that our ports are gradually coming back to life and we are hoping that when the Federal Government through Nigeria Ports Authority dredges the second part of the Escravos bar, we will have many more ships coming into Delta.
“This will help to decongest the Lagos Ports and the working of the roads will come to the rescue of those who make use of the roads for conveying of goods and services,” Okowa said.
Okowa also disclosed that his administration was giving a boost to tourism, saying “there are things that we need to do to encourage the people to improve on activities that will make families more comfortable.
“So, we are looking forward to building a Pleasure Park which will be on the Ugbolu-Asaba road, and we are also putting up a film village to encourage our budding artistes as Asaba has become the hub for movie locations.
“The new Secretariat Complex we are building in Asaba is coming on strong; I am very satisfied with the level of work being carried out and it is one of the biggest secretariats in the country.
“We thank God that at the end, we will have a reasonable accommodation for our workers.
“As it concerns the storm drainage project, we have continued with it in a more limited way due to the rains; I know that due to the construction of the current storm drainage in Asaba that flood has been contained.
“It is scary when I see the volume of water that the drainage systems are collecting currently and I am grateful that the designs executed for these drainages are effective, no matter how big the designs were.
“Before the end of the year, we shall commence with two critical phases in the Warri/Uvwie Storm Drain projects.” Governor Okowa assured.