BY OSWALD AGWU

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.

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Ebonyi youths on protest

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” among others.

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.

Governor Umahi

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 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.”

The FERMA in the state, Mrs. Eberechukwu Ogbuagu debunked all allegations raised against her by both the youths and the state government officials.

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 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”

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.

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By Mosvin Communications

Nation's Pride Newspaper is a production of Mosvin Communications located in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria.

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