Rural Access and Mobilization Project (RAMP) said it is targeting 900km roads to construct in Abia rural communities across the state valued at about $60 million (about N20 billion).
Speaking during a one-day workshop organized for stakeholders of RAMP in Umuahia, its national coordinator, Mr. Ularumo Ubadoma said of the 900km roads inspected, 500km have been earmarked to be constructed.
The RAMP coordinator however, said the projects are purely for rural communities, hence Aba North and South LGAs, Umuahia North and South, Ukwa East and West which have Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in their areas and Osisioma LGAs are not included in the projects.
According to him, the project is a community-driven one that is owned by the communities involved, disclosing that the project is a partnership between the World Bank and the state through the State Project Implementation Unit, SPIU.
Flagging the workshop open, the state Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu said in the past, his administration had concentrated its road infrastructure development in the urban areas, but now wants to focus on rural roads to give life a meaning to the rural communities.
Ikpeazu who represented by the state Commissioner for finance, Obinna Oriaku said the project which is in partnership with the World Bank was to ensure that the road construction in the urban areas go down to the rural areas.
RAMP, he said is trying to make life easier with the rural communities who before now do the projects alone.
Most roads selected, he said lead to farm lands, schools, hospitals and to other rural projects and will be with drainages to make it easy for the state government to tar it.
According to him, culverts and bridges will also be constructed where necessary.
In his speech, the Permanent Secretary, Abia state Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction, Very Rev Ernest Onyeukwu said “in Abia, emphasizes is now on community development, a shift from mere generation of food and fibre to general formulation of policies and programmes that will reduce rural poverty and enhance the quality of life of the rural community”.
He stated that the state Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu is making efforts to redress the imbalance between the urban and rural areas where over 70% of the populace reside, stating “hence the outstanding efforts of his administration to cue into the world bank assisted RAMP”, to support and improve all-season access road networks in the rural areas.
Speaking with Daily Times later, the Coordinator of State Project Implementation Unit, SPIU John thanked Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, assuring that all will go well, especially as the projects is in partnership with the World Bank, stating “it is realizable”.
Also speaking with Daily Times after his presentation and prioritization report on the project, the representative of Pheman Peniel Consultant, Engr. Bidemi Bello assured that the $60 million project will not be another “white elephant” project in the state, stating that the project will sure see the light of the day and fully implemented.
Interacting with newsmen later, the member representing Arochukwu in the state House of Assembly and Chairman, House Committee on agriculture, Hon. Luke Ukari Onyeani describe the project as the dream of the state Legislature, pointing out that the project is “not about talking but implementation”, stating that when realized, the projects will assist the state and the rural communities in the area of agriculture.
He, however, responded that the Abia state house of assembly is not in the know about the project as at the moment, stating that the House will do its part and ensure that the project succeeds.
Sunday Nwakanma – Umuahia