By Oginyi Ruth
Youths from Ohaozara and Onicha Local Government Areas of Ebonyi State have accused Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) of carrying out the substandard job in the area.
The youths of the two sister council areas on Wednesday staged a protest over the allegation to express their displeasure and call for redress.
The youths seen in the company of state government officials had a placard with different inscriptions, “FERMA NO! FERMA NO!! Stop this substandard project, FERMA EBONYI STATE DO a GOOD JOB, FERMA NO POOR JOB, FERMA give Ebonyi state standard job” and so on.
Government officials in the protest team including Senior Special Assistant to Governor David Umahi on Project Affairs, Chief Itapa Azobu, Special Adviser to Umahi on Youth Mobilization Mark Onu, Onicha LGA Chairman, Engineer Felix Igboke told Citizens Advocate, that their attention was drawn to the alleged sub standard road project going on in the area by FERMA and called on FERMA officials to use the standard of the Ebonyi State government.
Chief Itapa Azobu said, “I met you here yesterday the first question I asked you was that where is the design for this work, it is not the design we work within this state. His Excellency is busy doing very solid work in this state we wouldn’t want anything to come and dilute the quality of what we are doing here.
“You said you have a director and I demanded to see her. When I spoke with her on phone, she said why should I come and disturb her work, I told her I’m not disturbing her work, can we see and she said No, that this is Federal Government project and that I have no right to interfere.”
“I drew her attention to the quality of roads done in the state and the need no to toe that path. When I visited, I told her that why we are here is that we don’t like the standard of this road project. If this intervention must come it must be of the state quality. President Buhari is a good man and I’m sure he will not be happy to see a substandard job done by FERMA.”
Both Engineer Igboke and Mark Onu corroborated what Itapa said, they complained bitterly about the standard of the job done.
Reacting to their claims, Ebonyi State Director of FERMA, Mrs. Ogbuagu denied the allegations, she said FERMA as a federal agency has high standard and urged the protesting youth to channel their report to the headquarters if at all their claim is real.
She said, “This road Okposi/Nara Federal Government road has been neglected for long so. Under 2017 capital projects, two box projects were awarded by a contractor, one at kilometer 1 plus 400 and the other one at kilometer 8 plus 500.”
“Now for us to get to those projects, we have to take care of the road, for that to happen I pushed for a contract from zero that is down there, we have a box project of 1 plus 400 kilometers.”
“In the contract, we have a beamer, in the beamer we have concrete road and other specifications to choose for the construction of the road and the drainage.”
“When I discussed with His Excellency, I told him that there is no way FERMA as a maintenance agency will work at a lower standard because we have monitoring outfit that supervises our job before payment.”
“I told the commissioner that if there is any complaint, they should channel it to the headquarters, if possible, take a picture of it for proof. FERMA doesn’t have the right to do concrete pavement; the concrete pavement is done by the Federal Ministry of Works”, she said.
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