The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige has come under severe criticism over his claim that the federal government has completed work on Oba-Nnewi-Amichi-Okigwe road which has largely been abandoned for many years.
A number of people who spoke with our correspondent over the minister’s statement on Channels Television described the claim as very unfortunate.
The respondents pointed out that no work whatsoever has been done on the all important road which connect Anambra, Imo, Abia and South-South states since the government of President Muhamadu Buhari came on board.
“Ngige’s claim is part of the problems of Ndigbo, it is embarrassing to say the least, that Dr Chris Ngige will be lying against his own people just to satisfy his paymasters. The statement as far as I am concerned is a practical demonstration of the fact that the Minister of Labour and Productivity has lost touch with reality in Igboland.” An Onitsha based businessman declared.
The former Chairman of Police Service Commission (PSC) Chief Simon Okeke who actually single handedly ensured that the road in question was upgraded from a local road to federal road in 1975 said that the road has been largely abandoned for decades.
“In 1975, the administrator of East Central State, Dr Ukpabi Asika gave me a work to do, after I successfully completed the work, the administrator was very pleased and he requested to know what I would like him to do for me, I went back to him the following day to ask him for the construction of a good road to open up my community.
“Specifically, I mentioned the Okigwe-Amichi-Nnewi-Oba-Onitsha Road. He said that the issue of road construction was late because the federal government had already ratified the local roads to be taken over for construction but I insisted, that was how it was approved, it was the administration of Alhaji Sheu Shagari/Dr Alex Ekwueme that the road was listed for construction with file F112.” Ochendo recalled.
The former PSC boss noted that he has been engaging some representatives in the National Assembly and others in government to get money voted for reconstruction of the road and that only few of the people contacted actually responded positively.
Chief Okeke who said emphatically that he was not putting Dr Chris Ngige on judgement seat declared that the minister’s claim about the abandoned road is unfortunate.
Ochendo Amichi however appealed to the federal government to come to the rescue of the people of the area by working on the all important road which he said connects many states in the country.
Chief Okeke who is so passionate and emotional about the road urged the federal government to investigate itself as the claim of a serving minister that an abandoned road is completed is worrisome.
All attempt to get the Dr Ngige’s side of the story did not yield any positive dividend as he could not pick his call when our correspondent called him.