The governor of Abia State, Dr.Alex Otti, on Wednesday, flagged off the construction of a six-lane Ossah road expansion project.
The 3.5 km road which is the first 6 lanes road in the state will upon completion, serve as the major and befitting entrance and exit point to Umuahia the capital city.
Speaking during the flag -off at Okpara Square end of the road, Gov. Otti said “that when he conceptualised the project, many did not believe it would be feasible”.
“He also noted the initial resistance by some owners of the structures affected by the road expansion, but said that an agreement had been reached between them and Government for the project to commence”.
“The Governor said that funds for full compensation of the 130 structures marked for demolition had been provided by his administration”.
“He said that payment had commenced and assured that those who had not received their alerts probably due to some transaction delays should not panic as the money would soon hit their accounts”.
” When we wanted to start, there were some resistance and we began negotiations with owners of property to be demolished. We brought estate valuers and there was agreement between all the parties after negotiations”.
” Because we are a listening Government, we didn’t want to use force. I have provided for full compensation. Payment has started, and if for any reason anyone has not received alert, he should not bother. The money is sitting in the bank, and very soon all the affected persons will be paid”.
He appealed for cooperation of the people with the contractor who he said ” is in a hurry to deliver the project”.
Gov. Otti explained that his intention to embark on the project was to give Umuahia the needed face-lift as a state capital “so that Abians can be proud of their state for once”.
He hinted that before the six-month duration of the project, arrangement would have been completed for the extension of the road expansion to Onuimo bridge/border community with Imo State.
The Governor further said that similar work would be extended to Imo River boundary at Owerrinta to Umueka-Umuene- Obikabia in Ogbor Hill Aba.
This, according to him is to decongest traffic flow from Aba main city, and provide alternate route to Akwa Ibom via Ogbor Hill.
Otti said he had come to transform Abia into an enviable state for the good of all.
He later inaugurated the renovated and retrofitted Abia State Specialist Hospital Amachara, and Abia Diagnostic Centre Umuahia.
The two health facilities, he said, were part of the on-going renovation of hospitals in the state.
He assured that under his watch, the health sector would no longer be allowed to deteriorate.
Earlier in a remark, Commissioner for Works, Mr Otumchere Otti, said that the six-lane road project would unlock the economic potentials of Umuahia the state capital.
He explained that the road would have drainage on both sides and side walk, adding that it will be built with the best of materials to stand the test of time.
In an interview, the traditional ruler of Mgbaja Ossah Autonomous Community, HRH Eze Chiabuotu Emelike, one of the affected communities, expressed delight over the proposed road expansion project.
He said it would bring development to the capital city, hence their support for the proposal.
The royal father , however noted that the ancestral homes of some of his subjects would be affected but said it was part of sacrifices for development.
He acknowledged that some owners of the affected property had said they received alert for payment of compensation, and expressesed confidence that others would also be paid as promised by Government.
The monarch said some of his subjects, had on their own volition, started relocating, indicating that they are pleased with the project.
He also said that the community was at the verge of conducting the customary rites for the relocation of the graves of the ancestors in the affected compounds, and begged the Governor for a little time to enable all property owners relocate before commencement of demolition.
His Ukabiri Umuchime Amanso Community counterpart, HRH Eze Iheanyichukwu Ezeigbo, commended the Governor for the project, and pledged the support of his subjects.
He said that his subjects never opposed the project but only demanded compensation, while expressing delight that payment of compensation has commenced.
In an interview, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, commended Gov Otti for his courage to embark on the laudable project which he said would give Umuahia a befitting look.
Bishop Onuoha who contested for the governorship of the state under the platform of African Democratic Congress, said he was at the flag off of the project to show his support for anything that would help develop the state.
”The era of politics is over. We are here to develop Abia, and this project is very key because it will make us to be proud of our dear state”.
Similarly, the Secretary of Labour Party in the state, Rev. Andrew Ohiagba, said the developmental strides of the Governor are a confirmation that a new dawn had begun in Abia.
He said that the sacrifices of Abians in ushering in a new Government had started paying off, adding that Abia will witness rapid transformation under the LP- led Otti administration.
He solicited the cooperation of all Abians for the Governor, saying that he came prepared.