From RAY OZOJI, Awka
The Anambra State Road Maintenance Agency (ARMA) has denied social media reports that it uses condemned oil in its road maintenance/rehabilitation projects in the State or any particular part thereof.
The social media has been awash lately with reports linked to the Senator representing Anambra South, Chief Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, to the effect that ARMA, in connivance with Nnewi-North Local Government authorities, applies condemned oil and substandard materials on roads in Nnewi.
According to the reports, efforts by Senator Ubah to do some roads in Nnewi and, perhaps, other parts of the Senatorial Zone, were being thwarted by the local government authorities working in cahoots with the State government, which, the reports said, tele-guides the local government’s action.
The reports further claimed that the State government commissioned ARMA to commence palliative works on roads in Nnewi in spite of what the Senator, who also hails from Nnewi-North, was already doing at the time, adding that what was even worse about the ‘conspiracy’ against Senator Ubah was that the government brought inferior materials to work on Nnewi roads.
But describing the reports as ‘publicity stunts’, an ARMA official who spoke to AbeyaNews correspondent on condition of anonymity, queried the rationale and authority behind the Senator working on roads in the State without the express authorization of the State or federal government.
According to the official, no private individual has any right to do anything on roads except the state government approves it, pointing out that the State government itself cannot work on federal roads except the federal government authorizes it.
Said the official: “He (Senator Ubah) has no approval from the relevant authorities to work on any of the roads. After all, his staff members have not been paid for years. Charity begins at home.”
In his response to our inquiries, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ARMA, Engr. Emeka Okoye denied the allegation, wondering why anyone would allege that Anambra State government used condemned oil and substandard materials to work on roads in Nnewi, in the first place.
“It is a complete lie that we use condemned oil to work on Anambra roads,” he declared. That’s the handiwork of mischievous people. If it is not borne out of absolute ignorance then it is borne out of absolute mischief.
“We do not use condemned oil to do roads. You can’t even use it. We have Dura-Patcher trucks bought from the US. We buy our bitumen from ASCAD / RINGAD. They are the biggest importers and traders of bitumen in Nigeria. The stones we use are straight from Abakaliki in Ebonyi State.
“We have done this road patching with these equipment since September last year and we have patched roads in Nnewi, Onitsha, Agulu, Awka, Ihiala, Orumba-North and South and so on. So people are just being mischievous and it’s just unfortunate.
“We don’t use condemned oil to work on roads. This is the construction period. The rainy season is over and we have started our road repairs in earnest. So, rather than people appraise and appreciate the fact that the Governor is doing what he is supposed to do, they are busy being mischievous!
“We worked in Ihiala before we got to Nnewi. Did the Senator you are talking about get to Ihiala to work there before we went. We started our work immediately after the rains. So, I don’t know why anybody should be linking our work to any Senator.”