Minister of Labour and Productivity; Dr. Chris Ngige, has been accused of falsehood in his claim that the Okigwe – Arondizuogu and Arondizuogu – Uga Federal roads have been completed by the Federal Government.
The Minister had not too long ago while reacting to issues of allegation of marginalization of the South East on Channels TV program; ‘News Night’ anchored by Ladi Akeredolu-Ale, highlighted some of the roads as gains the current APC-led Federal Government has bequeathed to the people of South East.
But a civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) in a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, accused the minister of telling lies.
The group said it is shocked at the audacity of the ‘Honourable’ Minister to make false claims on National television, because their team spent weeks driving round the Arondizuogu roads mentioned by Dr. Chris Ngige as some of the roads done by the present administration of Muhammadu Buhari in the South East of Nigeria to prove to the Minister that his claims lack empirical evidence.
The rest of the statement read, “Just imagine the state of roads in Arondizuogu, Imo State; a big and mighty town that encompasses 3 local governments in Imo State – Okigwe, Onuimo and Ideato North. The roads have been death traps for long and Dr. Ngige still has mouth to say the federal government has done the roads.
“The Arondizuogu – Okigwe road is a critical Centerport to Arondizuogu and its deplorable condition has crippled the local economy, impoverished the people and set Arondizuogu back by not less than 50 years. The people, generally, are very angry about the terrible condition of this road which has lingered for many years – moreso when a serving Federal Minister comes on National television to make claims that are not verifiable.
“Arondizuogu suffers from multiple deficiencies of social infrastructures and the worst case scenario of marginalization of unfathomable scale even as the few signs of civilization such as electricity and graded rural roads were done as a result of communal and/or individual efforts.
“The public can now understand HURIWA’s overwhelming shock, because Arondizuogu is fast making history as one of the communities in Imo State where the duty of road construction and road rehabilitation has been passed to helpless indigenes.
“For instance, the only source of intermittent electricity power to most parts of Arondizuogu in Onu-Imo local government was donated by a single individual who is also reputed to have singlehandedly constructed some culverts and rural roads beginning from his immediate community in a part of Arondizuogu located within Onu-Imo LGA. It must be noted too that Arondizuogu traverses Okigwe and Ideato North local government area councils.
“Even after erecting a multi-million naira 5-star tourism edifice, The Hometown Resort in 2017, Chief Benbella Anachebe (SAN) was forced to single handedly tar the state road from Ugwu Akokwa to Eke Ndianiche up to Odum Rd enroute Ndiogbuonyeoma Uno.
“In effect, Arondizuogu is among those communities in Imo state that is feeling the pains of a failed administration under the APC-led administration and Ngige is spending much time in the media spreading falsehood and outright cheap propaganda about some fantastic feats the federal government has achieved which are not in existence anywhere.
“We therefore call on the President; His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR to note that the Arondizuogu Road is a death-trap and that his Minister of Labour and Productivity has not told him the whole truth about the state of that road.
“We invite Mr President to visit Imo State and drive through that road so he can then judge between the people and the Minister who is not being truthful. Furthermore, we call for sanction on the Minister; Dr. Chris Ngige for giving a bad representation of the government and for President Buhari to order the transparent renovation of the road to stand the test of time.
“The condition of federal roads in the South- East is deplorable. They have indeed become death traps. Some of them have been abandoned and now out of use. Also, state roads are not better off. The abysmal conditions of federal roads are a stain on the reputation of this administration and to Dr. Chris Ngige in particular who has resorted to spreading political propaganda on television.
“For the sake of being polite and not using appropriately abusive language, the best way to describe the state of the federal roads in the south east is to use words such as deplorable, terrible, awful, dreadful, shocking, lamentable, disgraceful, shameful and unpardonable.
“If there is one single factor that indicates the imperative to restructure the nation’s finances and politics and bring government closer to the people, it’s the unpardonable state of the nation’s federal road network in the south east.
It’s unpardonable simply because the nation is structured in such a manner that the Executive and National Assembly allocate to themselves a disproportionate share of the budget, while serially failing to alleviate the suffering of ordinary citizens.”