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In Awka, telecom giant, lifts road users' spirit, opens section of Enugu-Onitsha Expressway


AS THE closed portion on the Amawbia section of Enugu- Onitsha Expressway in Awka opened for Yuletide traffic earlier this week, the joy of users of the road rose to high level.

 The dual carriage way in  Amawbia, Awka South Local Government Area, Anambra was temporarily opened to the public to ease transportation gridlock during this festival period.

 Dr Reginald Facah, the Coordinator of Community Liaison Initiative Model of the  telecommunications major brand, MTN that the federal government (FG) has authorised to shoulder that section of the expressway, said the gesture was to ease the stress of heavy vehicular movement on the road. In a conference his office jointly held by the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) in Awka on Wednesday, Facah said that though the dual carriage way is only partially completed, it can be put in use for the season.

He explained that the goal of MTN's collaboration with the FG on the road is to bring joy to the people and communities that use the route.

Facha said that it is a concept more deployed by oil companies in the Niger Delta region but MTN brought it to play in the rehabilitation of Enugu-Onitsha dual carriageway to ensure zero-fatality on the road.

According to him, the community development model  strives to ensure that people and communities along the project corridor as well as critical stakeholders get a feeling of inclusiveness and ownership during and after the course of the projects in their vicinity.

Facha disclosed that MTN's involvement in the project began in October 2023 when MTN Nigeria Communication PLC appointed Crown Crest Global Engineers Ltd (CCGE) as the consultants of the RITC project which involves the repair, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the 107km x2 Onitsha–Enugu dual carriageway.

The initiative which he described as "a baby of MTN communication Nigeria Ltd." is also "to assess the impact of the road rehabilitation exercise on the people and communities along the work corridor" and equally "see how the experience garnered can be mutually beneficial to all the stakeholders involved."

He emphasised thusly: “Today MTN temporarily open a partial completed section of the dual carriageway not because the entire road is done but because MTN has brought the human face to bear in her social responsibility.

“December and Christmas season have seen unimaginable suffering on the parts of commuters and drivers on this road,many south easterners do not bother to come home because of the deplorable roads that increased security challenges of the zone”.

The partial opening was marked by a Safe Drive conference. 

Speaking during the event, Anambra State's Commissioner for Transport,  Mrs Patricia Igwebuike, said that state government is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring residents are given the best of everything including assess roads, and thanked MTN and FG for the development. She also advised commuters to use the roads carefully and wisely to avoid mishaps.

Also speaking, the Anambra State Sector Commander, Adeoye Irelwusi observed that partly completed portions of roads tend to recorded highest number of accidents within the years, 2021 and 2022 due to poor road network but expressed confident that with the opening of the road, FRSC will ensure that accidents and traffic jam will be reduced.

Irelewuyi explained that currently the command having flagged off 'operation zero tolerance' has deployed 1000 personnel as well as equipment to strategic places across the state and is working with stakeholders to ensure safety on state's roads.

Anambra State's Commissioner for Works, Ifeanyi Okoma, said that the current administration of Gov. Chukwuma Soludo has made it a point of duty to make Anambra a livable and prosperous state.

Towards this, four hundred kilometers of road, with two hundred and fifty kilometers completed have been awarded at sites that cut across the state.

The  commissioner, represented by Mr  Ifeanyichukwu Okoye, Director Maintenance,  assured that the Ministry of Works will partner with every stakeholder in to ensure a crash-free traffic in Anambra roads, this season.

The occasion witnessed official handover of road safety kits to the FRSC through, Mr Irelewuyi and opening of the road to traffic by the MTN officials, Anambra State government's representatives and community leaders.

Mr Frank Ogbonna, a transport operator who drove on the  newly opened carriageway commended the good job done and assured that as a driver he will abide by the traffic safety  tips.

Similarly, Mr Tony Ede a private motorist said that it was a best gift from MTN family to the road users as the action will be enjoyed not only by home-based residents but also the homecoming holiday makers.

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