By Ogechi Emeana
The unrelenting rainy season has worsened the already bad conditions of roads in Imo State, and the people are groaning and mourning their losses.
Christian Voice checks revealed that virtually all the entrances into Owerri, the state capital, from other neighbouring states are involved in the dilapidation.
The roads badly affected include the Owerri-Umuahia, Owerri-Okigwe, Owerri-Port Harcourt, and Owerri-Aba roads.
Worst hit are the internal roads within New Owerri, World Bank Housing Estate and the Federal and State Housing Estates.
Parts of Ikenegbu Layout, Aladinma Housing Estate and Prefab are not spared in the devastating state of roads, leading to excessive use of the major roads with the attendant traffic gridlocks as the by-passes are out of use.
A survey carried out by Christian Voice, however, showed that the mood of residents as well as visitors to the state capital, in particular, have been gloomy, although the state government had promised to commence work in the roads as soon as the rains cease.
They complained that the alarming cost of transportation has made life unbearable for commuters, especially businessmen and traders who find it difficult and expensive to convey their goods.
Amaechi, an elderly man who sells yam at World Bank Market said that he was formerly offloading his yams in the World Bank Market, but since the roads in the estate became impassable, he had been compelled to divert to Relief Market as the truck drivers refused to ply the World Bank Estate roads.
One of the residents who buy from the World Bank Market, Mrs. Chinwe, told our reporter that prices have skyrocketed in the market since the roads became worse.
Another Owerri resident said that people have been turning up to appointments and their job places late because of the man hours lost in transit from Nekede Umuguma, Avu, Ohaji-Egbema, Uratta, Irete, Ikeduru Mbieri, Mbaise, Orlu and others.
One of the respondents, Ogu Ezekiel, blamed the situation on the past administration in the state that built substandard roads, what is now called “China road”, for Imo people.
He, however, called on the present government to apply palliative measures by filling the potholes with concrete and chippings to allow easier traffic flow.
The situation had led to loss of new investments in the state, job opportunities, high crime rate and corruption, as well as damage to vehicles.
When contacted, aides to the Imo State Commissioner for Works said that he was away on official duty outside the state and so could not comment.