Motorists Lament Poor State Of Agbor-Uromi Road

Motorists Lament State Of Agbor-Uromi RoadMotorists who ply the Agbor-Uromi road and residents of the communities along that road are calling on the Federal Government to speed up the construction of the road in view of the hardship suffered by users of the road.

Farmers and traders who use the road told Channels Television that they suffered losses during the rainy seasons as they could not evacuate their harvest to the city for sale.

Channels TV visited the community on Ekpon market day and found wares on display. Most of the items were food products from the community farm, but farmers, traders and motorists alike say travelling on the road has been a major challenge.

One Mrs Rachael said: “It affects our business because we don’t see vehicles going to nearby towns easily. They would demand 3,000 to 4,000 naira for a trip that we normally would pay 600 to 1,000.”

Another one, Mr Danladi said: “We are praying the government to do something within this dry season because by next rainy season I don’t think anybody can use this road any longer.”

Motorists Lament State Of Agbor-Uromi Road

The Zonal Coordinator of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) South-South 2, Mr Richard Ohre, said that the road has been awarded to a company called Setraco and they were awaiting mobilisation

“That road is awarded for dualization. FERMA does not award road for dualization, we only do maintenance and once it is awarded for dualization by the Federal Ministry of Works we do not go there to do anything.

“For long we have been doing small intervention to make sure that it is motorable but because of funds we cannot even intervene,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Justin Okonobo, has said that the House would invite the contractor to find ways to speed up the road construction.

He said: “As we resume now, we might not be able to invite the Federal Government but we will invite Setraco. Let Setraco tell us what their problems are about getting mobilised.

“FERMA does not have any excuse. FERMA is for maintenance, before Setraco is mobilised they are supposed to provide palliative measures.”

The Agbor-Uromi road feeds the Auchi-Abuja road.

Ikpeazu Flags Off 4.6km Faulks Road Construction In Abia

Abia, Ikpeazu, FAulks RoadThe Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, has flagged off the reconstruction of 4.6 km Faulks Road that covers Brass junction by Aba-Owerri road as well as Ariaria market by Ukwu-Mango and down to Port Harcourt Expressway.

The road construction is in line with the administration’s commitment to enhancing infrastructure that would encourage trade and commerce in Aba, the commercial city of Abia State.

Faulks Road has been in a deplorable condition for the past 18 years, hampering economic activities in Ariaria Market.

It has also caused untold hardship to residents, despite the effort made by past administrations to fix it.

The major impediment in the reconstruction of the road is tackling the Ifeobara basin near Ukwu-Mango.

The government has engaged the services of a construction company, SETRACO to solve the problem by constructing a 5.6km underground water channel that would discharge its content straight to Aba River

Ifeobara basin has been the reason behind the most devastating flood in the area, due to accumulated waste materials being dumped on the drains, that has blocked the drainage over time.

Shortly after flagging off the road, Governor Ikpeazu told the people in his native Ngwa language that the suffering and recurrent flood in the area had come to end.

Governor Ikpeazu drove out from the event amidst cheers and excitement from the people, who would be hoping that their show of support would translate to serious work to end the flooding.

Nigerian Troops Surround French Family’s Kidnappers- Source

Nigerian security forces surrounded the kidnappers of a French family in Northeast Borno state on Thursday in an operation to rescue the hostages, a Nigerian military source said.

French, Nigerian and Cameroonian officials earlier denied French media reports that the family, who were seized in Cameroon and taken over the border, had been freed.

The Nigerian military located the hostages and kidnappers between Dikwa and Ngala in the far northeast, the military source in Borno said, asking not to be identified.

Dikwa is less than 80 km (50 miles) from the border with Cameroon where the three adults and four children were taken hostage on Tuesday.

A senior Cameroonian military official declined to comment saying the matter was too sensitive.

Citing a Cameroon army officer, French media reported earlier on Thursday that the hostages had been found alive in a house in northern Nigeria.

“This is a crazy rumour that we cannot confirm. We do not know where is it coming from,” Cameroon Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary told Reuters by telephone from the capital Yaounde.

“What is certain is that the French tourists who were abducted are no longer on our territory. However, we are in touch with the Government of Nigeria to intensify measures to continue the search for them along our common border,” he said.

French gendarmes backed by special forces arrived in northern Cameroon on Wednesday to help locate the family, a local governor and French defence ministry official said.

Nigerian military spokesman Sagir Musa earlier also said the report on France’s BFM television of the hostages being released was “not true,” while Didier Le Bret, the head of the French foreign ministry’s crisis centre, said the information was “baseless.”

The abduction was the first case of foreigners being seized in the mostly Muslim north of Cameroon, a former French colony.

But the region – like others in West and North Africa with porous borders – is considered within the operational sphere of Boko Haram and fellow Nigerian Islamist militants Ansaru.

On Sunday, seven foreigners were snatched from the compound of Lebanese construction company Setraco in northern Nigeria’s Bauchi state, and Ansaru took responsibility.

Northern Nigeria is increasingly afflicted by attacks and kidnappings by Islamist militants. Ansaru, which rose to prominence only in recent months, has claimed the abduction in December of a French national who is still missing.

Three foreigners were killed in two failed rescue attempts last year after being kidnapped in northern Nigeria and Ansaru, blamed for those kidnaps, warned this could happen again.

The threat to French nationals in the region has grown since France deployed thousands of troops to Mali to oust al Qaeda-linked Islamists who controlled the country’s north.

The kidnapping in Cameroon brought to 15 the number of French citizens being held in West Africa.

Group Claims Kidnap Of Seven Expatriate In Bauchi

An Islamist group linked to al Qaeda claimed responsibility on Monday for kidnapping seven foreigners during a night time raid in a remote town in Bauchi State at the weekend.

Gunmen killed a security guard and abducted a Briton, an Italian, a Greek and four Lebanese workers after storming the housing compound of Lebanese construction firm Setraco in Jama’are in Bauchi state late on Saturday.

“By Allah’s grace (we) have the custody of seven persons, which include Lebanese and their European counterparts working with Setraco,” read a statement from Ansaru, a group that has kidnapped other foreigners in Nigeria in the past.

The kidnapping was “based on the transgression and atrocities done to the religion of Allah by the European countries in many places such as Afghanistan and Mali,” the statement said.

Attacks by fractured Islamist groups in northern Nigeria have become the biggest threat to stability in the country.

Ansaru’s full name is Jama’atu Ansarul Musilimina Fi Biladis Sudan, which roughly translates as “Vanguards for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa”.

The group has risen to prominence only in recent months.

It has claimed responsibility for kidnapping a Frenchman last year and a raid on a major police station, where it said hundreds of prisoners were released. Britain said the group was behind the kidnap of a British and an Italian killed last year during a failed rescue attempt.

Seven Foreigners Kidnapped In Bauchi

Gunmen on Sunday killed a guard and kidnapped seven foreign workers from the Setraco construction company site in Jama’are town in Bauchi State.

The Associated Press, quoting the Local government Chairman, Adamu Aliyu reported that those kidnapped were from Britain, Italy, Greece and Lebanon.

The Commissioner of Police in Bauchi, Mohammed Ladan, who confirmed the incidence, said the gunmen attacked a police station and a prison overnight before storming the construction firm’s compound in Jama’are town.

“We repelled the attack on police station and the security men at the prison yard also repelled the attack, but they burnt two vehicles in Jama’are police station,” he said.

“They then attacked Setraco construction, killed a local security guard and they succeeded in kidnapping people.”

The Italian foreign ministry confirmed one of its nationals was taken in the raid. A spokesman for the British Embassy in Abuja said it was investigating.

Setraco Nigeria, a construction and civil engineering company, is a subsidiary of Setraco International Holding group.

The Nigerian company, which was established in 1977, is currently working on expanding a major road in northern Nigeria.

Reps to investigate allegations of corruption against Orubebe

The House of Representatives on Thursday directed two of its standing committees to commence an investigation into allegations of corrupt practices brought against the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe.

The Minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe

The motion presented by a member of the House, Olesegun Odeneye (Ogun State) reminded the House of allegations that the minister has paid for many phantom projects, and is presently residing in a house, built and handed over to him by a construction company which he has failed to declare in his asset declaration.

“A case has been made against the minister as it relates to a house built for him by Setraco Construction Company at Mabushi district here in Abuja. It has been found that he failed to declare the house in his asset declaration form with the Code of Conduct Bureau,” Mr Odeneye said.
The House subsequently mandated its committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes to investigate the matter and make appropriate recommendations to the House within 21 days.

The House further directed the ministry of Finance, the Central Bank and the Accountant General of the federation to suspend all payments into the ministry over what it described as bogus contracts, except the East West road projects until the completion of investigation to verify the authenticity of certificates pending for payment.

The deputy speaker, who presided, ruled that the motion should not be debated until investigations are completed.

A non-governmental organisation, Anti-Corruption Network, led by former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye had accused Mr Orubebe of using his office to divert public fund for his personal use. The organisation provided photos of a residence it claimed was built for the Minister in the Mabushi area of Abuja.

Leader of the group had alleged that Setraco built and delivered the new mansion to Mr Orubebe in less than six months after the company benefitted from contracts to build part of the East-West highway in the Delta region.