Residents of Navy road at Ibaka, Mbo in Akwa Ibom have called on the state government to rehabilitate the 1.8-kilometre link road.
They stated this in separate interviews with journalists in Mbo Local Government Area on Sunday.
The 7.3-metre wide access road stretches more than 1.8 kilometres to link the jetty to Ibaka–Oron road.
According to Etim Michael, a youth leader from Ibaka, the road project was awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in 2013 to Messrs Foul Plant Nigeria Limited.
Mr Michael said the road, allegedly abandoned by the contractor, had been a source of worry for the people and residents of the area.
Some parts of the road, which are in deplorable condition, are abandoned.
Mr Michael also alleged that the contractor abandoned the project in 2018 after a slow pace of work which started in 2013.
He said, ”Notably, between 2013 and 2018, the work was abandoned after overlaying about 697.3m of bituminous asphalt from the jetty in Ibaka beach to the main gate of the Naval Base.
”The completion of the Naval Base access road to link Ibaka-Oron access road will not only ameliorate the terrible suffering experienced when plying the road, especially during the rainy season.
He also noted that the deplorable state of the road would affect the Navy’s response on time in case of emergency.
Mr Micheal also said that apart from the deplorable state of the naval base link road, Ibaka community had been without electricity for the past five years.
He appealed to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in the area to come to their aid.
He also noted that several efforts in the past by youth organisations in the area to draw the attention of the NDDC to the abandoned project were not successful.
”When we drew the attention of the state government to the poor state of the road, the usual reply has always been that the NDDC will complete it.
”But since 2013, the road has still not been completed,” he said.
Also, a taxi driver, Okokon Emmanuel, who plys the road from Oron to Ibaka, called on the state government to urgently rehabilitate the 1.8km road without waiting for NDDC.
”The abandoned road has caused motorists and other communities along the road many years of hardships.
”It will further escalate the insecurity being experienced in the community as it slows down the response time of the security agencies, particularly the navy in the event of any security emergency,” Mr Emmanuel said.
He also called on the just constituted NDDC board, which has an indigene of the state, Victor Antai, as the executive director project, to ensure that the contractor was mobilised to site.
”This road is economically very viable to the state, a single individual cannot hold the people of this area to ransom by abandoning a job he gladly collected from NDDC,” Mr Emmanuel said.
He explained that the 1.8km road that used to take just three minutes drive from the naval base, now would take you 30 minutes due to its deplorable state.
Another resident, Victor Onwineng, suggested that a law should be made by the National Assembly to check and jail contractors who abandoned projects, describing the act as economic sabotage.
He decried the abandoned NDDC projects littering the Niger Delta region and called on President Bola Tinubu to address the ugly situation which he said had slowed down the pace of development.
He explained that the completion of the Base access road would ameliorate the terrible condition experienced by the residents, improve operational response by the navy base and reduce insecurity in the area.