…State Director Alleged attack
…It’s false allegation, nobody attacked them- SSA
Youths of Onicha and Ohaozara local government areas of Ebonyi State, numbering over 50 on Wednesday, marched to the Okposi – Onicha section of Okposi-Onicha – Isu to Nara road in Enugu State, protesting the on going rehabilitation of the road by the Federal Road Maintenance Agency.
The youths maintained that the Agency was using sub standard materials to rehabilitate the road which makes it to be below the Ebonyi standard.
The youths who thronged to the project site in company of some State Government officials were seen displaying placards with various inscriptions such as “FERMA, we say no to poor jobs” “We say no to poor quality job in Ebonyi, FERMA take note”. ” FERMA stop work and give us good quality job”. FERMA this poor quality job, Buhari will not like it”. “Give us Ebonyi standard; Ebonyi State do good jobs”.
Those who went with the youths were the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Umahi on Project Monitoring, Itapa Azuobu; Onicha Local government Chairman, Felix Igboke and the Special Assistant to the Governor on Youth Mobilization, Mark Onu.
The Chairman of Onicha local government council, while speaking to journalists maintained that the job being executed by FERMA in the State fell short of the standard and quality of roads done in the state.
While Azobu accused FERMA Director in the State of using inferior materials and lowered specifications in executing the bridges and drainages.
He ordered that FERMA should stop the road rehabilitation until all grey areas are addressed.
“In this State, we don’t do drainage with BRC wire mesh.
“In this State, our standard for a road drain is 7.3 metres and the shoulder should be 1. 5 metres with 3 metres apart which at the end of the day, you will get 10.3 metres as the specification.
“The strength of the drainage would be 0.5.
“With the wire mesh, we are not doing anything because any erosion can wash that thing off the road.
“So it is a sub standard job, and I have demanded for the specification and the design because every job must have a design.
“It appears they are doing the job off their heads.
“The Governor has turned Ebonyi State into a construction site and we know you cannot go into a construction site without a mixer.
“Look at the chippings they have there, obviously of very low standard.
“When I was here yesterday, I appreciated FERMA for beginning to fix the road, but we will not accept shoddy job.”
In her reaction, the FERMA state Director, Mrs. Eberechukwu Ogbuagu, said that the issue of sub standard job is not true because they have done jobs that will stand the test of time in the State.
Mrs. Ogbuagu maintained that FERMA only plays intervention role on federal roads to make it passable undertaking some remedial actions, adding that the full road construction is the responsibility of the Federal Ministry of Works.
The Director noted that the road in question was neglected for a very long time until it was captured under FERMA project in 2017 for palliative actions.
She averred that the job has specifications and that she would not go beyond specifications of FERMA in handling the project.
She pointed out that the initial project involved only the bridges and culverts along the road but that she had to push further for the federal government to approve the construction of the road to connect the bridges for the benefit of the people.
“For us to construct the culverts, I pushed for a road contract to connect the culverts which was approved by the Agency.
“There is a provision for a stone base of 160 cm and asphalt of 40 cm, among others which are contained in the specifications for the road projects”, she stated
She also said that copies the of contract and job specification papers were submitted to the State Government through the State Ministry of Works and Transport as required before commencement of the project, adding that the job was still at the early stage of excavation, that’s why there was no concrete mixer on site yet.
Ogbuagu who also alleged that she and some of her workers were attacked by the youths who came for the protest, stating that it was expected that the State government officials channel their complaints as regards quality of work being done, to the National office of FERMA rather than stopping the job.
Meanwhile, Hon. Azobu said that the said attack was false allegation, stating the youths went for demonstration which they did peaceful.
On his part, the SA on Youths Mobilization advised the state Director to be mindful of how she relates with people, adding that the woman was sounding so rude when she was called on phone about that particular project.