For about the past five years, from the beginning of Sapele road up to the Ologbo bridge, boundary between Edo and Delta States, the degree of deterioration continue to increase every year without Government attention and now it has reached a very alarming point.
Though the entire stretch of the road is in a bad shape; at this particular area, unending moaning, and despair is the order of the day, due to the untold hardship users of the road are subjected.
Here; motorists are trapped for several hours and sometimes days in the journey to reach their destination.
Even the by-pass in Ologbo Community due to intense pressure of vehicular traffic, has also broken down and poses a nightmare to negotiate.
Therefore, seizing the opportunity of the prevailing circumstance, youths in the Community have devised means of making quick money from the motorists; praying, the situation never abates.
Also, motor bikes are reaping heavily from the unfortunate situation.
To beat being trapped in the several gullies and ponds, some travelers now stop at Ologbo, and had to cross over on motor bike to a safer point on the other side of Delta State before again boarding vehicle, to continue their journey.
Same for those returning from the Delta State axis.
For this service, the motor bikers charges the minimum of N1,000 as the case maybe.
Hawkers of all manner of consumables have also clipped in; on the opportunity the situation avails them to do brisk business.
In the same vein, the prevailing situation coupled with the increase in the pump price of fuel, transporters have in multiple fold increased fare.
From Benin to Warri which used to be about N500 years past, is now charged for between N3,500 to N5,000 depending on the available volume of passengers.
Also, the time of arrival traveling on this road has become unknown; a hitherto one and half hour journey at most.
This is as motorists too, cry their vehicles break down frequently and makes them regularly visit the mechanic workshop; spending the money they make on spare parts; which are now also very expensive, before paying for services that have also been hiked.
The people lamenting the multiplier effect of the bad road, passionately appeal for urgent attention of Government.
However, the immediate past Minister for National budget and planning, Clement Agba in the month of June, 2023 told the media that the Federal Government was committed to the reconstruction of the road.
He gave the assurance when he visited the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State Council on Thursday, 8 June, 2023.
Work would begin soon, he assured explaining several factors which he said impedes the smooth running of work; including inadequate budget and funding.
Agba disclosed that the contract for the reconstruction of the Benin – Warri road had been approved by the Federal Government, at the rate of N290bn; before exit of the administration of the immediate past President, Muhammadu Buhari.
The road is divided into three segments and allocated to three different contractors for expansion and dualization, he said but did not disclosed their identities.
“There is also the Benin to Warri express road which was also approved; that is a green field; there was no existing contract, so it was much easier.
“That road is divided into three segments; and the contract have been awarded to three different contractors for expansion of the road; and it has to be dualized and I think we have a total of N290bn to take care of the three segments of that road.
“The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved, and the contracts have been put in place.”
But when exactly this assurances will translate to reality and bring to an end the nightmare of users of the road; is something that still beats ones imagination, with the way the situation is.
Laments twisting procurement procedure for contracts delay
“You see, Government has a procedure to follow, it is not like an individual thing; you put hand in your pocket and you pay. And if those procedures are not followed, the media will be the first to raise an eyebrow.”
Agba claimed he had always canvassed a change in the procurement procedure of Nigeria, as it creates a lot of distortions the way it is; “within a year, it makes it so difficult to even implement the budget.
“It is because we don’t trust ourselves; anyone in Government is a thief; others outside are angels but those in Government are chosen from the angels outside.
“This is why some of these laws have been put in place, but they are creating a lot of problems for our people.”