The Akwa Ibom government has appealed to the Federal Government to refund the N140 billion so far spent by the state on the rehabilitation of federal roads.
Gov. Udom Emmanuel made the appeal on Thursday in Uyo while inspecting the Uyo-Ikot Ekpene-Aba dual carriage road being constructed by Julius Berger Company.
The governor said that the reimbursement was necessary to facilitate the rehabilitation of federal roads connecting Akwa Ibom with Abia and Cross River respectively.
He said that commuters plying Ikot Ekpene-Aba road; Ikot Ekpene-Umuahia road as well as Calabar-Itu road were experiencing difficulties due to the deplorable state of the roads.
He urged the Federal Government to give approval for the rehabilitation of these roads to be undertaken under Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
Emmanuel explained that these roads are major highways leading into the state, adding that they are economically valuable to the state and its neighbours.
“All that I’m asking from the Federal Government is one word ‘approved’ and the roads would be constructed in no time”, he said.
The governor urged Julius Berger Plc reconstructing the Uyo-Ikot Ekpene road to expedite action to give tourists access to the Four Point Sheraton Hotel at Ikot Ekpene during the Christmas festivities.
Emmanuel decried the various litigations over compensation instituted by occupants of buildings marked for demolition along the road.
“We have paid compensation to property owners on the road. Why take the government to Court after collecting the money?
“I am appealing to them to leave the houses because in two weeks I will order demolition of those houses”.
Speaking earlier, the site manager of Julius Berger Plc, Mr Peter Reifenstuhl, explained that the speed of work had been stalled by heavy downpour.
He gave the assurance that work would commence in earnest as soon as the rainy season was over.
The governor also visited the General Hospital Ikot Okoro in Oruk Anam local government area and expressed shock at the poor state of the hospital.
He said that the health facility, established in 1954, had suffered neglect even as he ordered mass burial of 20 unclaimed corpses abandoned in the hospital.
Emmanuel promised that he would commence immediate rehabilitation of facilities at the hospital.