A delegation from the Headquarters of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Abidjan, led by Mr. Mwila Aeron Katambula, the Bank's Transport Specialist, is currently in Abia State for the final lap of talks between Abia State Government and AfDB on some developmental projects of interest to the bank in Abia State.
The state Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, who received the team and another team from the Federal Ministry of Works Abuja that accompanied the AfDB team on Wednesday at the Government House Umuahia, said that Abia State can't wait to see the commencement of reconstruction of some major roads in Aba, especially Port Harcourt road and Ikot Ekpene road, among others.
"Road infrastructure is very important to us in Aba. Apart from being the commercial nerve Centre of Abia, Aba is the SME Centre of Nigeria. Aba is very important to the economy of both Abia and Nigeria.
"So the issue of road infrastructure, waste management and storm water management are the challenges we face in Aba.
"Abia State does not have the resources to do good work at Port Harcourt and Ikot Ekpene roads. With your visit today, you've renewed our hope that help will come very soon and the roads will be fixed.
"On our part we have tried to do what is required of us in terms of ensuring that the ground work is done to enable AfDB come in." The Governor said.
Speaking on why they're in Abia, Katambula said: "We are eager to participate in the development of Abia State. Our mission today is a follow up to meeting we had before, we want to ensure that everything is ready because we want to fast track the projects that the bank will take up in Abia."
The AfDB and FMW teams later met with the State's Commissioners for Works, Hon. Eziuche Ubani, and that of Finance, Hon. Obinna Oriaku, and other top state government officials.
After several hours of meetings, the Commissioner for Works, Hon. Ubani led the two teams to Aba, to have on the spot assessment of the two key Federal Roads: Port Harcourt and Ikot Ekpene Roads located in the commercial city.
The inspection tour offered them the opportunity of first hand information of the level of decay of the roads and the trauma and suffering of the residents and travelers in and around these two key roads.
AfDB is currently doing the technical analysis and studies of the roads before releasing funds for repairs of the roads.
This accounts for why the AfDB team had to come with the FMW team to meet face to face with Governor Ikpeazu and his team in Abia.
During the visit to Aba, the Commissioner for Works, Hon Ubani told the AfDB and FMW team that the state government "is desperate to fix roads in Abia, and Aba in particular to stimulate economic activities and drive development across the state"
"So far we've done a good number of roads which fall within the responsibility of the state, but unfortunately, we can't fix federal roads without first agreeing on terms of fixing them with the Federal Government.
"Unfortunately we don't have the amount of money required to fix these roads, especially Port Harcourt and Ikot Ekpene roads, that is why we are delighted to have the AfDB here together with a team from the Federal ministry of works, to see the level of deterioration of these roads."