A combined delegation of youths from Onicha and Ohaozara
Local government areas of Ebonyi State numbering over 50 on Wednesday, September25,
protested against what they described as poor quality job being executed by the
Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA, in the area.
FERMA is currently undertaking intervention works on the
Okposi – Onicha section of the
Okposi-Onicha – Isu road to Nara
in Enugu State, a federal road.
The youths in company of some state government officials
displayed placards with various inscriptions such as “FERMA, we say no to
poor jobs; FERMA, give us Ebonyi standard; Ebonyi State do good jobs”
The youths who also made moves to attack the FERMA officials
and workers on site were however, pacified by the government officials on
ground who took turns to address the situation.
The government officials including the Senior Special
Assistant to Governor Umahi on Project Monitoring, Itapa Azuobu; the Onicha Local Government Council chairman,
Felix Igboke and the Special Assistant to the Governor on Youth Mobilization,
Mark Onu, while speaking to journalists explained that the job being executed
by FERMA in the state fell short of the standard and quality which the governor
had already instituted.
They accused the FERMA director in the state of using
inferior materials and lowered specifications in executing the bridges and
drainage, alleging that the official displayed rude behaviour when confronted
over the matter.
They demanded that the job be stopped forthwith, until all
grey issues are settled in such a manner that the job would stand the taste of
time when accomplished.
Azuobu summed: “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
“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.”
The FERMA in the state, Mrs. Eberechukwu Ogbuagu debunked
all allegations raised against her by both the youths and the state government
She noted that FERMA only plays intervention role on federal
roads to make it passable by taking some remedial actions, stressing that the full road construction is
the responsibility of the Federal Ministry of Works.
She observed that the road in question has been neglected
for a very long time until it was captured under FERMA project in 2017 for
palliative actions and insisted that she could not have gone beyond the modus
operandi and specifications of FERMA in handling the project.
She further explained that the initial project involved only
the bridges and culverts along the road but noted 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.
She stressed: “For us to construct the culverts, I
pushed for a road contract to connect the culverts which was approved by the
“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”
Ogbuagu emphasized that copies the 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 and
wonderered why she should be the object of attack by the youths.
Ogbuagu who also alleged that she and some of her workers
were viciously attacked by the Youths, further advised the State government
officials to channel their misgivings to the National office of FERMA rather
than obstructing the job.
Meanwhile, the government officials and the youths on their part denied any attack on the official and her workers.