As the people of Emuhi community in Esan West Local Government Area of Edo state continue to suffer untold hardship following the deplorable state of their road, they have reiterated calls on the state government to fix their road.
The people, who are predominantly pineapple farmers urged Governor Godwin Obaseki to include the Ukpenu-Emuhi road as one of the road projects to be executed in next year’s budget, in fulfilment of his electioneering campaign promise to them.
The situation however, of the less than 10 kilometers Trunk-B road linking Ekpoma with Ehor community in Uhunmwode local government area of the state, has crippled economic activities in the area.
According to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) chapter in the area and the people, they tax themselves to do palliative work but to no avail, as the situation gets worse especially during the rainy season.
“in 2016 when the governor came to campaign in Ekpoma, his attention was drawn to the road that stopped at Ukpenu when one Deaconess Magareth Ojugo, a member of the community made mention of it to the Governor and the Governor promised to fix it; same was repeateted during that last campaign as well when he came to Ekpoma. Engineer Gideon Ikhine took him on foot from Ukpenu Primary school to some distance.
“We have been doing palliative work on the road, for example members of CAN have donated money themselves to rent tipper, get gravel to fill some bad spots, same efforts are being replicated by the community as well”, Rev. Albert Oboh, CAN chairman, Emuhi chapter told The Nigerian Observer.
It was observed that the area may be cut off from Ekpoma town by the Ukpenu Town Hall if the situation is not arrested, as the road is badly threatened by gully erosion due to a failed drainage system constructed to channel flood to a nearby drainage.
The community usually gets flooded whenever it rains, although it has a functional primary health facility and schools, but lack other basic amenities as clean drinking water and electricity, even as they rely on Well water sourced from rainfall, and power generating set for electricity need of those that can afford it.
According to the locals, Emuhi community rarely gets power supply despite having a transformer, a situation they maintained has contributed to migration of young persons from the area to the urban centers.
Odionwele (Head) of the community, Pa Charles Ihimekpen, who called for government intervention, lamented that farm produce hardly make it out of the area, as a result, forcing farmers to sell at cheaper rates.
He maintained that unsold products get spoilt before the next (Emuhi) market day, usually held every five days, adding indigenes of the community have contributed immensely to repair the road, to secure their produce.
“Even our farm produce, no buyers come to buy because of the bad road. We cannot even move them to outside market. Our major crop here is pineapple; and I can tell you that this Emuhi community is the largest producer of pineapple in the whole of Africa.
“But, to transport it out is a problem, for buyers to come is another problem. About 10 tons of pineapple is supposed to sell at ₦100,000 but because of the bad road, they price it between ₦40,000 and ₦30,000. It is a very big shortage to us, and that is why we have been calling the government; only the governor can do it for us. Individuals cannot do it”, Mr Monday Ihimekpen said, on behalf of the Odionwele.