Ongoing re-asphalting of failed roads by Akwa Ibom State Roads and Other Infrastructure Maintenance Agency, AKROIMA.

By Abasifreke Effiong

There are some little things which a number of people overlook or dismiss as intangible. Some of those little things really are precious. Some people dismiss the filling of potholes on the highway by government as insignificant, yet the same intervention means a great deal to other people; particular those who are aware that some families have lost their breadwinners to accidents caused by potholes.

Car and motorcycle accidents caused by potholes are said to have “chain -reaction” and greater impact on the vehicle and commuters than accidents caused by other factors.

“All car accidents are scary. When one is caused by hitting a pothole and losing control of the vehicle, the chain – reaction is swift and frightening. The noise, the sudden impact, and the resulting collision sends [the commuters’] heartbeat racing”, Chicagoland’s Premier Personal Injury Attorney reports.

Little pleasing interventions for safer roads in Akwa Ibom Prince Godwin Ntuk Udeh, Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Roads and Other Infrastructure Maintenance Agency, AKROIMA, speaking to the press during the monitoring of interventions on failed roads in the state by AKROIMA.

Patching those devil’s pots on the highway saves lives and reduce drivers’ mistakes that could cause a crash and damage to vehicles. Potholes are major causes of tyre blowouts, damaged wheels, lost of control and car crashes.

Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, a U.S car accident attorneys based in San Diego, California, identify potholes as the “top causes of car accidents”. The firm says a bumpy road is a minor nuisance to drivers compared to a road littered with potholes.

Another law firm, Chicagoland’s Premier Personal Injury Attorney, reports that more than 12,000 claims were filed against the government of Chicago in 2018 by car owners who had accidents due to potholes on the highway.
The Chicago municipal authority reportedly filled 108,000 potholes on their roads in 2018. In Chicago and other places, the authority responsible for maintaining roads and ensuring that they are free of defect or damage is liable in case of accident caused by potholes.

READ ALSO : After three years of rigmarole, FG announces new funding plan for Calabar-Itu road

What do people say about the recent statewide maintenance of failed portions of roads across Akwa Ibom by the Akwa Ibom State Roads and Other Infrastructure Maintenance Agency, AKROIMA? That pleasing ‘little’ intervention has elicited a lot of kudos to the state government.

For instance, an indigene of Itu local government area, Elder Aniefiok Ikot, who is a leader in his community, Nwut Usiong Itam, in happiness of seeing the extensive maintenance carried out on at Nelson Mandela street, said, if he had ultimate powers, he would make Mr. Udom Emmanuel, governor a third time.

“I am happy to see this job done. This is what we have been praying for. If it were the wish of me alone to afford the governor a third term, I would do it… please extend my respect to the governor”, Elder Ikot appealed.

Little pleasing interventions for safer roads in Akwa Ibom Elder Aniefiok Ikot, speaking to the press.

The councillor representing Itu ward eight, Comrade Otobong Ekong, said Nelson Mandela and Udoette streets were un- motorable for a long time due to deep, scary potholes. He recalled that many vehicles were damaged during the 2019 rainy season due to deep potholes on the road.

From Itu to Uyo, Etinan to Nsit Ubium and Nsit Ibom, the intervention on failed road portions have received commendations. In Nsit Ibom where almost 300 meters of tarred road was reworked and re-asphalted, from Afia Nsit Urua Nko market to Ikot Abasi Nsit, Emmanuel Sunday Ben, thanked Governor Udom Emmanuel for directing that an intervention be done on the road.

READ ALSO : Nigeria loses $12billion to conflict in middle belt – Group

This reporter learnt that the failed road portions immediately after the Afia Nsit Urua Nko market have been a perennial nightmare to commuters. The bad portions on the road were reportedly stressed and washed off by flood.
After that portion, there was another spot in Ikot Abasi Nsit which was notorious for accident. Anwanabasi John, the youth president of Ikot Abasi Nsit, said many car accidents have occurred on the Ikot Abasi Nsit portion of the Nung Udoe-AkpaUtong-Afia Nsit Urua Nko-Enen Nsit road, because of potholes. He said potholes on the road were like “canals”; hence he lauded the government for the intervention.

He said, “I thank the government for this intervention. We were worried, and have been asking why the government has not intervened on this road because many accidents have occurred here. This place was like a canal. I appreciate what government is doing and I appeal that it should intervene in other places like this.”

The intervention on the Nung Udoe-Akpa Utong-Afia Nsit Urua Nko-Enen Nsit road like other places is a huge relief to road users. However, the government will need to construct drainages from Urua Nko to Ikot Abasi Nsit to take off flood from the road. The road was constructed without drains. Residents of the area who spoke with this reporter during an inspection of the intervention by the Board of AKROIMA, noted that the failed portions on the road were caused by a perennial stagnation of flood on the road during rainy seasons, from the Afia Nsit market (Urua Nko) down to the steep descent at Ikot Abasi Nsit. This reporter observed that there was a culvert at the terminal point of the descent in Ikot Abasi Nsit, but a greater part of it has collapsed while the other part is silted and buried in the ground. This explains why some portions of the road are washed off year-in-year-out.

Little pleasing interventions for safer roads in Akwa Ibom Intervention work at Nelson Mandela street, Itam, Itu local government area.

During the inspection of the intervention, the youth president of Ikot Abasi Nsit, Anwanabasi John; a youth leader from Afia Nsit Urua Nko, Emmanuel Sunday Ben and other indigenes of Afia Nsit and Ikot Abasi Nsit, appealed to the state government to consider constructing gutters as apart of its intervention on some portions of the road.

The Akwa Ibom State Roads and Other Infrastructure Maintenance Agency (AKROIMA) has intervened at Etinan roundabout and, stadium road junction in Etinan local government area; Ikot Imo in Nsit Ubium; Robert Udoekpo street off Nsikak Eduok road, Nsikak Eduok by Rayfield school, Aka Itiam street, Baptist Avenue, NNPC road by The Apostolic Church, Osongama, and Osongama road all in Uyo local government area.

AKROIMA has also undertaken extensive interventions including overlaying of Bishop Udeme Simon street with a spur to Deeper Life Bible church, Osongama extension; Aka Etinan road by Goodluck Jonathan boulevard and Ikot Abasi street. Driving a car through Ikot Abasi street was such a devastating experience before the intervention, a female resident of the street who came out to thank AKROIMA team during the intervention said.

READ ALSO : Mobil, GTBank owe Akwa Ibom state N24.68 billion PAYE taxes

These little interventions are pleasing. The roads will be safe during the rainy season which will set in in no time. Hopefully, traffic hold-ups will reduce in some places because the new motorable alternative routes opened up by the interventions will encourage motorists to avoid those routes with usually high traffic. There will be less tyre blowouts, vehicle damage and scary car accidents. Drivers and commuters driving non – air-conditioned cars will not sweat-out anymore, struggling to wriggle their vehicles out of potholes. This is why these little interventions are significant.

More so, the interventions are coming just at the right time, preparatory to the rainy season. This makes it really meaningful. With these interventions, the Governor has shown that he is highly sensitive to those little safety needs of commuters and transporters which are often ignored elsewhere.

Also, AKROIMA has done in ensuring that the interventions are done painstakingly. This reporter noted particularly the meticulousness in which the Board of AKROIMA led by Prince Godwin Ntuk Udeh supervised the intervention. It was inspiring to see members of the Board examine the filling, compacting and asphalting of failed portions on each road, spot-by-spot. Such dedication to duty and attention to details of a job as exhibited by Ntuk Udeh and his team is not common with most politicians nowadays.

However, the public looks forward to more interventions as promised by the agency. Extensive intervention is urgently needed at the failed portions on the Ibiaku-Ituk Mbang-Ekpene Ukim road near the newly reconstructed General hospital Ituk Mbang; Ibiaku-Ikot Akpaetok-Nung Udoe road and Ikot Ebre road in Ibesikpo Asutan. AKROIMA should also undertake grading of some rural roads as it did last year before the rainy season sets in.

In addition to this, it will be necessary for AKROIMA to provide proper road markings and traffic signage at Aka Etinan road by Goodluck Jonathan boulevard, to reduce frequent cases of car accident reported at that junction.