Enugu Roots Initiative (ERI) has commended President Goodluck Jonathan for the flag-off of the 2nd Niger Bridge, emphasising that the project will accelerate economic activities in the South-East and South-South zones.
The group also called on the President to compel the security agencies to unravel the identity and the mission of the hoodlums that invaded Government House, Enugu, penultimate weekend, emphasising that such serious matter should not be swept under the carpet.
In a communique issued at its enlarged meeting in Enugu, the body also called on the federal government to immediately revitalise the coal industry due its vast potentials as a source of energy and as a major catalyst for foreign exchange earnings for the country as was the case in the 60s.
In the communique by Barr. Joni Icheka (Chairman), Barr. Emma Nwodo (Treasurer) and Malachy Uzendu (Public Relations Officer), ERI insisted that government should compliment the 2nd Niger bridge by paying seriousness attention to the slow pace of work by the contractors handling Enugu/Onitsha expressway, which have remained in a deplorable condition even though its rehabilitation was awarded over three years ago.
On the 2nd Niger Bridge, they applauded the President for the flag-off but noted that it takes more than a flag-off to get the job done as it required concrete work-in-progress.
They stressed that former President Olusegun Obasanjo had carried out ground-breaking ceremony of the same bridge before his tenure expired but it has become obvious that he merely deceived the people.
“We need more than a symbolic flag-off of the 2nd Niger Bridge. What we need is massive visible on-going construction of the bridge as we do not want to believe that what was done was just to lure the South-East to again vote for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the next Presidential election, because they need no preaching for such support.
“Former President Olusegun Obasanjo carried out ground-breaking ceremony of the same bridge before his tenuere ended which was abandoned.
“It is not in doubt that the bridge will accelerate economic development of the country and the zone in particular, as it will energise concerted economic and industrial activism on the people of the zone (the Japan of Africa) who are generally noted for their personal industry and self sacrifices”.
On the invasion of the Enugu Government House, ERI condemned in strongest such acts and called on President Jonathan to unravel the mystery in order to avoid a replication of what is happening in the North-East zone.
They emphasised that with reports by the Police which showed that the hoodlums were armed and were up to 50 in number, such actions are not the type that should be glossed over.
“What happened at the Enugu Government House is to say the least, most despicable and akin to mutiny. It should not be glossed over. The perpetrators must be fished out and made to immediately face the full wrath of the law.
“This was how the problem the nation is today facing in the North-East started. It was the action of some misguided elements which were glossed over and today, we are all witnessing the level of massacre and destruction of property and institutions going on there,” ERI stressed.
They also called on President Goodluck Jonathan to find out why the contract for the reconstruction of the Enugu/Onitsha and Enugu/Port Harcourt expressways, were only being executed on the papers of the Federal Ministry of Works without any tangible thing on ground.
“We note with sadness that the same company which speedily completed Kubwa/AYA road expansion project in record time is using shovel to carry bitumen and concrete and operating at less than snail speed on the Enugu/Onitsha road.
“Even the Abakpa Junction to Onyeama Mine section which the company claimed it has done in more than three years it started the work, have collapsed.
“What is happening on the Enugh/Onitsha and Enugu/PH roads should resemble what is going on along Lokoja/Abuja expressway or, they should keep it permanently in good shape as obtains along the Abuja/Kaduna/Kano expressway even though this northern arterial road is six times the length of Enugu/Onitsha expressway with several bridges enroute”.