Ebonyi Ring Road Project suspended over kidnap of contract workers
By Chinwe Imo-Eze Onwosi
Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, on Wednesday directed the suspension of work at section two lot four of the Abakaliki Ring Road along Effium axis, Ohaukwu Local Government Area, for seven days over security challenges.
He announced this during an expanded security council meeting held at the New Governor’s Office, Ochudo Centenary City, Abakaliki.
Umahi expressed sadness over an ugly incident where some of the contract workers handling the project in lot four were abducted by unknown gunmen on November 3, 2021.
He directed the Local Government Chairmen, Coordinators of Development Centres, Traditional Rulers, and Development Union Chairmen to submit a written affidavit of commitment to security of personnel in the sites within seven days.
The Governor however directed the contractors to collaborate with stakeholders in the council areas to ensure sufficient security for their personnel and equipment.
He said: “So far we have not had an incidence of insecurity in the axis of 135 to Ezza North, Ezza North to Ikwo, Ikwo to Abakaliki, and Abakaliki to Izzi, Izzi down to Ebonyi Local Government Area.
“Where we believe we have problems is the axis of Ohaukwu and that is Effium axis in particular.
“The entire Ring Road project is threatened and I will be willing to shut down any of the sections that will not comply with my directive.
“I need an affidavit from all the Traditional Rulers where the road is passing, Town Union Presidents, Local Government Chairmen, and Development Centre Coordinators.
“They will give me sworn affidavit. The affidavit is that they will take responsibility for the security of the contractors, the consultants, everyone that is involved in the discharge of their duties and also their equipment.”
Governor Umahi warned that government would not hesitate to shut down work on any axis of the project should the stakeholders fail to do the needful within the stipulated time.
“Anyone I don’t get after seven days, no negotiations, I will shut down that section.”
He also directed the stakeholders at the local government level to liaise with the contractors to ensure adequate security of the contractors and their equipment including the engagement of local vigilante and contractors’ liaison officers.
He appealed to Traditional Rulers to volunteer laterite to the Contractors to ensure seamless execution of the Project.
The State Deputy Governor, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, Security Chiefs, Local Government Chairmen, Coordinators of Development Centres, Traditional Rulers of benefitting Communities and Contractors also attended the expanded security meeting.