Vehicular movement was shut down for hours on the Akure-Ado Ekiti road as some residents of the two state capitals, yesterday, protested over the abandoned N22 billion Akure/Ado-Ekiti road dualisation as well as the lack of commitment on the part of the contractor to fix the road.
The residents under the aegis of Great Patriot for Better Initiative (GPBI) trooped out with placards alleging lackadaisical attitude of the contractor towards the project 15 months after mobilisation fee was allegedly paid by government for the road dualisation.
The protesters pointed out that the state of the road has continued to aid activities of criminals engaging in kidnappings and killings.
Some of the inscriptions read: “Too much of kidnapping, raping on Akure-Ado-Ekiti road,” “Governor Fayemi may not be too happy with the slowness of Akure-Ado-Ekiti road,” “Revoke Akure-Ado-Ekiti road contract from Dantata and Sawoe.”
Others read: “Dantata and Sawoe is frustrating the effort of Mr. President on road infrastructural development,” “Fix our roads, save our souls,” “After 15 months of mobilisation Dantata and Sawoe company is nowhere to be found”, “Too much killings and robberies on Akure-Ado-Ekiti road.
According to the head of Project Monitoring of GPBI, Mr. Niyi Majofodun, the project as a matter of urgency should be revoked from the contractor, Dantata and Sawoe.
The protesters, who barricaded the ever-busy highway at Igoba junction, Akure North Local Government, alleged that, “The dualisation of the road was awarded to Dantata & Sawoe in 2020, and the company was subsequently mobilised for it in November 2020.
The spokesperson of the group, however, alleged that the contractor refused to move to site until few days ago after the organisation had petitioned the office of the Director-General of Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) over the abandonment of the project.
He said, “It is on record that killings, kidnappings, robbery, raping and terrible motor accident have become uncontrollable on the Akure–Ado Ekiti road. We cannot afford to die in silence, we want to strongly appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to please look into this matter as a matter of urgency. We also express our displeasure at the manners at which Director General of BPP awarded the road.
“Mr. President should not allow his name to be dragged into the mud on this matter since he had performed his Constitutional right by awarding the contract and subsequently mobilised the contractor. Therefore, he must ensure his directive is complied with and carried out.
“The contract should be revoked to save the life of the road ushers. The road is expected to be delivered within 30months of award and up till now no sophisticated equipment is seen on ground.”
Also lamenting the development, one of the stakeholders, Biyi Poroye stated that the attitude of the contractor towards the project had become a huge concern, saying residents and motorists had been going through agonies on a daily basis.
On his part, Senior Special Assistant to Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State on Citizen Engagement and Grassroot, Josemaria Adeusi said, “If a contractor has been mobilised 15 months ago and he has not done anything significant that we can see to attest that he is ready to work, the best to do is to revoke the contract.”
A former Chairman of Akure North Local Government, Rotimi Adeleye, said, “It is highly embarrassing and disgusting that nothing has been done. We are pleading with the government to come to our aid. Several lives had been lost on this road alongside several kidnappings.”