Eulogies have been pouring in for a philanthropic gesture by Barrister Natasha Akpoti who single handedly embarked on the rehabilitation of Okene-Lampese-Ibillo-Lagos Federal Road which had been in deplorable state for over 15 years.
Travelling on the road has become a nightmare to motorists and other road users as a result of the worsening condition occasioned by the many failed portions on the road.
Rehabilitation of the road in progress
Truck drivers have been lamenting that they spend several days on the road when auny vehicle get stuck.
Hence, Akoko Edo has been agog celebrating the lady they referred to as an amazon and a pacesetter who has reawakened the consciousness of Nigerians to the need for community support.
Her intervention to rehabilitate some failed portions of the Okene-Ibillo-Lampesse-Lagos Road corridor seem to have opened a new vista for individual and community effort in fixing broken down infrastructures rather than wait for Government till eternity.
The major point for celebrating her they said is the fact that she is not from the community neither is she from Edo State, also they said she is not holding any political appointment, yet she has chosen to rehabilitate two very bad spots in between Ibillo and Lampese and Ekor Ibillo axis on the way to Lagos, through Ikiran Oke and Isua axis near Ondo State
Motorists plying the road which links the North and some parts of the South, have been expressing disappointment with the level of abandonment the roads have suffered, as well as, the innumerable failed portions that now dot the trunk A road, where vehicles get stocked routinely.
The worsening state of that road has given birth to lengthy stretches of traffic jams, as trailers and sundry heavy duty trucks coming from Abuja, and other parts of the North, begin to waltz around bad spots at Isua of Akoko South East, and the bounodary with Ibillo, in Akoko-Edo, Edo State.
Begging for serious attention is the Ibillo axis of the Federal road, in Akoko-Edo Local Council, which share boundaries with Ondo and Kogi states.
Commuters going to Abuja from Lagos pass through this route and vice versa, but the part of the road from Isua Akoko to Ikiran-Ile to Ibillo, is fast dilapidating, while between Ibillo and Lampese that links travellers to Okene, in Kogi State is completely cut off.
The journey from Isua, in Ondo State, to Okene in Kogi State, driving through Ibillo that should take less than one hour, now takes three hours, and commuters would have to first travel to Igarra, Headquarters of the local council (a location that is entirely off the route) to connect several villages to Ososo, then Makeke, to avoid the completely cut off section between Ibillo and Lampese.
The most unfortunate part of the development is that roads in these communities are now fast dilapidating due to the high volume of traffic plying them.
“There are two very bad spots in between Ibillo and Lampese and Ekor Ibillo axis on your way to Lagos, through Ikiran Oke and Isua axis near Ondo State.
So, motorists now circumnavigate to Igarra via Enwan, Ojah, Makeke Ekpedo to Lampese before criss-crossing to Abuja again. The roads in that axis are not Trunk A roads, so they are fast dilapidating because of these heavy vehicular movement.
Also caught in the traffic jam when her car got stuck in Ibillo, Natasha Akpoti who contested for the last Governorship election in Kogi State decided to take the bull by the horn.
It was gathered that she met with leaders in Ibillo and decided to do a major repair work covering over 1km stretch on the road corridor.
The people particularly were touched by the fact that she is not from Edo State yet she offered to rehabilitate the road.
Her English Language and Literature in English Teacher Mr Obaro SA, said,
“Indeed Natasha Akpoti has given us a surprise because for her to have taken upon herself that responsibility which we expected Government to have done a long time ago is a great thing.
“We have known her for so long especially what she has been doing in Kogi State .
“So she has taken a very big responsibility upon herself to help the people just as natural as she meant it
“She happened to be one of my students when she was in Federal Government College Idoani in 1979. Then I taught English and Literature in English
“Ever since she has been playing that leadership role from that tends r age till now. There are a lot she has done for her people in Kogi and she is doing and extending it to Edo State is just wonderful.
“We all praying to God to give her more enablement to reach out to more people
Comrade Victor Arogunyo, Spokesperson, Okpameri Descendants Union siad, Okpameri Clan is made up of twenty three(23) Communities with Ibillo as the headquarters.
“Ibillo has the 2nd largest market in Edo State .It is the economic hub in Edo North Senatorial District.
“The people of Ibillo and environs are very happy they are Elated, we pray for Batrister Natasha Akpoti everyday for that singular gesture.
“It is not only people from ibillo that are enjoying the road. A particular failed portion of the road is a major road connecting the northern and southern Nigeria.
“It is a hub for business activities, for instance the northern people bring cows, onions to Ibillo Market while every Friday from Ibillo here we export Gari to Kano, Kaduna, Niger to all parts of Nigeria, to Portharcourt and all of that.
“So that particular failed portion of the road has been impeding that smoot flow of traffic for several months now until the woman came to our rescue and I think the people are very happy, very greateful and they will continue to pray for her.
“What Natasha has done is an eye opener and I think I want to use the Guardian platform to appeal to other Nigerians that Natasha is not the richest but out of the little she has she is helping out.
“So I want to appeal to ther Nigerians to emulate this gesture of this amazon who I describe as a beauty both in the heart and in the outside that they should emulate her.”
In the last one week a video of heavy equipments working on the road has gone viral on the social media with comments from Nigerians.
Most of those who commented lauded her for embarking on such project as they deplored the Government at State and federal levels for not living up to expectation
Some of the comments on social media over her gesture read,
Jegede Jimoh Jerry posted “When Government failed and are still failing to play the role which they were elected for.
A single Woman from Kogi Central of Kogi State intervened in fixing a dilapidated and unmotorized way in Ibillo, a community in Edo State.
Natasha H Akpoti you are a Government teaching both the Federal and States Government their responsibilities.
This project is in addition to the one going on in her home town, lhima Kogi State.
I thank God my support was not in vain.
May the source of your resource that’s touching Rural Dwellers Never run dry.
AKOKO-EDO FORUM : Join Kola T Sam
The beautiful lady on this post is Barr Natasha Akpoti _ from Kogi state who is presently rehabilitating Ibillo/ ‘ Lampese/Okene/ Abuja road. Presently she has mobilized equipment on site at Ibillo for a total ” rehabilitation work on our road in Akoko Edo even though she’s from Kogi state and not presently in any political office. In Kogi state she has over 20 already completed projects in her credit.
– Meanwhile Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi and governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo have deliberately remained mute on the cry by the people over the worst condition of the road. Also our minister of works Mr Raji Fashola has since paid deaf ears to our cry. Recently Hon Kabiru Adjoto and others made an eye service protest to the road just to make it look like i was actually a nice politician.
“Hon Peter Akpatason on his part played some financial role for and palliative and also raised the issue on the floor of the i house for urgent attention by the federal government.
All these trials never gave any positive solution until our beautiful savior from Kogi arrived with equipments on the road for rehabilitation. Barr Natasha Akpoti may God bless you for helping us out ma. Akoko Edo is grateful ma.
@ Abdulkareem Tijjani DVM
This is indeed commendable in every sense of it., This is a Federal Road that was totally cut off by the rains, the Abuja People are still exchanging files because of this road, contractors are still bribing up and down in Abuja to get the Job to fix it in the ‘next’ budget or the next one after that.. the State government and Legislators don’t care after all it is a ‘Federal’ Road.. so many of such roads abound in the country.. that is why we are where we are today..
Like the commentator pointed out.. Government (leadership) is our problem in Nigeria.. The Public Procurement processes are too cumbersome, corruption ridden and slow..
One woman broke this jinx and showed everyone
– that with community support, fixing basic amenities is not rocket science afterall.. She is not from another planet.. her name is Natasha H Akpoti.
When contacted on why she decided to delve in to the project Barrister Akpoti said “The Okene-Ibillo-Lagos highway which is a Federal Road has really been in a very bad shape around Ibilo where you see trucks lined up for one or two months, some trucks, carrying vehicle, cows, tomatoes, foodstuff, cement surmasaulting.
“Around that bad portion of the road is where armed robbers, Kidnappers lay ambush because they know the vehicles slow down there so they always wait around there to carryout their ungodly business.
“I thought how long will this continue, is it because those in Government fly, they don’t know the state of the roads?
“I am not attacking the States concerned, the fault is on all of us because the road has been bad for the past 15 years.
“Such Federal Roads should be on constant maintenance. It is not a matter of passing the blame on APC or PDP, it is the problem of everyone, from the Local Government chairmen to the individuals and even the foreign companies that ply that road. But somebody has to start and I thank God for the capacity, the knowledge to start.
According to her, the intervention covers Slightly over 1km, not just one pothole but the entire strip.
“We are even going to do drains because what we realise in that portion is that whenever it rains water collects so it is not just sand filling because it is a lower gully area so we are going to create drains on both sides so when it rains it will not settle on the Middle and destroy further.
“What we are doing for now is remedial measure but we are actually going to start real work in the next two to three days.
“We are moving in Stones and granites from neighboring Town and there would be the asphalt overlay at the end of the day.
She said her excitement lies in the fact that the youths are the ones protecting the workers so that nothing happens to them and that is amazing.
“They said they saw the sincerity in what I am doing because they already know who I am. They said this lady is expressing this gesture from her heart therefore we have to give the same support to her.
She narrated her ordeal while plying the road saying,
“About a month ago when I was travelling by road along Okene and Auchi, I was stuck, I could not pass at Ibillo-Okene and I noticed that there were some trucks that have been packed there, some for over a month, two months because by the time they made some repairs their tires were already bad so there was a long queue.
“Everyone was waiting for Government and the Government is not forthcoming and the people need to survive and at the end of the day it all falls back on individuals like myself, yourself and everyone who has the wherewithal or the capacity to extend the good will.
“For me it doesn’t matter whether I am from the area or not the strength of one State connects another and so also the weakness of one State connects the other.
“As I could not pass that road it means if it is good tomorrow it will affect me positively.
“That is why I started putting in some funds and I got equipments and we started moving them to site two days ago after I had sent a few people to meet with the chief of Ibillo.
She decried a situation whereby Government will be reluctant to do a road but when individuals come up to offer help Government will step in to stop the project sometimes.
However, she said, “So far the community has been giving maximum support, they even donated a four bedroom apartment where the workers are living for free.
“Like I said the support I am getting from the community is amazing. They are just happy and collaborating see the crowd that came there, people are giving free drinks, minerals, water, food stuff, Bread to the workers. Even somebody donated a 4 bedroom to the workers for the duration of the work.
“It comes back to the essence of humanity, volunteerism and nation building.
“What I want to tell every individual is we came make Nigeria if we want, we can do it, I have never occupied any office and it is not like if I have mansions around the world that I don’t know what to do with my money but of what good is it to me if my wealth is being enjoyed by myself and family alone if my neighbors and community are suffering?
“I mean you cannot be an Island on your own without reaching out because we are all. I did not expect what I am doing to have gone this viral.
“If this gesture means anything, I am calling on all well meaning Nigerians everywhere, the conglomerates, those who own big multinational companies and the known and unknown billioneers, should reach out even to their own immediate communities.
“Let’s not talk about other states do something for your own people and if you have enough do for others.
“We can not continue to wait for the Government. If the Government is falling apart how about the wealthy individuals, some who are even wealthier than some State Governments we can all do something and let’s make this country to be great in our own little way.
“The good thing is that we have been having a lot of goodwill. When we started with about five of my own equipments I got some one who gave me three more, and said I can use for one month. Some were donated
“What is more interesting is the community youths. They did not harass us, they are coming with support, giving food to the laborers.”
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DON’T MISSCommunity rejects polio vaccine to protest agaisnt theft of Hospital equipmentsYOU MAY LIKECLICK TO COMMENT
COMMUNITY NEWSCommunity rejects polio vaccine to protest agaisnt theft of Hospital equipmentsPublished 3 weeks ago on 22nd September 2021By admin
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From: Ahmed Rufa’i, Dutse
Jikas community in Gwaram local Government area of Jigawa state have rejected polio vaccination and other routine immunazation to protest theft of equipments the only hospital in the town
It was gathered that the community rejected the polio vaccine over the weekend to protest the alleged anti people action by the medical officer in the village.
Youths in Jikas town and sorounding villages the NationalUpdate learnt held a peaceful demonstration in the town when the vaccinators arrived while trying to carry out their mandate in the town and villages
One of the protesters identified as Malam Sogiji Malagadai Jikas said “We will not allow our children to take the vaccine until the state Government carry out an investigation on a female medical officer in the primary health care clinic who was alleged to be brain behind theft of some medical equipments of the PHC
According to him “Some very important medical equipments worth over one million Naira and a deep freezer had been stolen from the clinic and we are suspecting the medical officer”.
“The equipment got missing since June. So findings indicated that she is guilty. We reported the matter to the authorities, but no action”.
He added that they have formally sent a letter of complain to the chairman of Gwaram local government council, ministry of health and department of state’s security but no action”.
Malam Soji Malagadai Jikas “a delegate for elder of this ward had gone to the ministry and met the top official lodged complain and the ministry promised to take action. But the women is still in the hospital, she did not even been transferred talkless of investigating her”.
“After a serious pressure the chairman of the local councils and some our people agree to force her to pay back by deduction from her monthly salary till she paid in full”.
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CONTINUE READINGCOMMUNITY NEWSDisability commission prioritises education, moves to establish 6 model schools in 6 geopolitical zones for PWDsPublished 1 month ago on 2nd September 2021By admin
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The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Mr James Lalu, has disclosed that his commission was set to establish six model schools for Persons with Disanbilities (PWDs) across the six geopolitical zones of the country to take care of their righ to education
Speaking on Wednesday during a pres conference to mark the one year anniversary of the Commission in Abuja he explained that the Commission was making effort to ensure that PWD enjoys free education from primary to secondary school across the federation.
“In 2022, scholarships would be provided for PWD who are qualified to study within and outside the country. Our commitment to this makes us to talk to British Commission for support.
“Some PWD are preparing to leave Nigeria and a lot.of them will be leaving to UK next year on scholarships.
“Our commitment to this has led us to open partnership with two universities in the United States to provide education for PWD from Nigeria.
“Similarly, our commitment to international technological transfer is tied to education. We strategising how we can push our people do go and learn technical skills that they can bring back to help the disability community,” Lalu said.
He pointed out that 55,000 persons with Disability (PWD) have been enrolled in the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP)
He also lauded President Muhammadu Buhari and Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development for making the dreams of PWD come true.
“While 50,000 of PWD are set to be incorporated into the Conditional Cash Transfer, 40,000 have been integrated in the N-Power, all under the NSIP.
“Since Nigeria got it independence in 1960, we never had a President who love PWD like President Buhari. He shown inclusive governance and the disability community will never forget about him.
“Also, we commend Farouq, who fought to ensure that the Commission came into existence and achieved a lot in the past one year. She has been keeping us on our feet by asking questions and effective monitoring.
“However, the Commission is committed to ensuring that accessibility of minimum standard is integrated into the National Building Code across the country. The capacity of engineers would be build on that regard,” Lalu said.
He said the Commission was partnering with the Nigeria Police to enforce the law on discrimination of PWD, adding that discrimination against PWD is a crime and will be delt with in all police formation across the country.
According to him, the police officers will be trained in sign language to ensure communication and effective enforcement of the law and how to help PWD who are discriminated.
“Let me quickly add that while the sign language in the northern part of the country is different, the ones in the eastern and western regions are also different; we are going to harmonise them and have a single sign language for Nigeria”.
Lalu said the Commission was making effort to ensure the effective domestication of the rights of PWD across all states of the federation.
He added that the Commission would also push for the provision of mass housing for PWD via Federal Housing Authority, Federal Mortgage Bank and the FCT Minister.
Lalu said the commitment of the Commission to ensuring that five per cent ratio of employment in government ministries, departments and agencies were allocatesd to PWD could not be over-emphasised.
He expressed appreciation to the media as he enjoined them to continue to propagate the activities of the Commission.
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CONTINUE READINGCOMMUNITY NEWSToluwanime: An artist’s touch that lifts Jabi Lake communityPublished 2 months ago on 23rd August 2021By admin
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By John Akubo, Abuja
In what she tagged Mercy Project, a Nigerian-born UK-based Gospel Singer, Ibiso Eleoramo, popularly called Toluwanime in partnership with African Centre for Environmental Protection (ACEP) reflected on the squalid living condition of inhabitants of a community by Jabi Lake and decided that a clean up of the lake and its surrounding would give them a new lease of life.
Prior to the clean up programme by the artist, the community had been inundated with strange diseases whereby children were urinating blood, which was attributed to their intake of unsafe water from the lake.
The three-day sanitation project tagged “Mercy Project’ was designed to help promote wholesome living in Abuja community.
The singer said she came to the sad reality that some inhabitants of FCT are so exposed to danger associated with taking untreated lake water that is unsafe for consumption with all the refuse, debris and the attendant health challenges.
Describing her effort as a form of Corporate Social Responsibility, Toluwanime declared: “A couple of months ago I came here to do a music video titled Mercy and we shot the video on the water scene and when we did that I could see dirt and debris in the water so I was inspired and I said okay what can I do, just to contribute my own little quota to making Nigeria a better place and I am so happy that we could put this together and start this mercy project,
“I decided to come here working with a non profit charity organization called African Centre for Environmental protection based in the Niger Delta. I am actually originally Rivers by birth. “The organisation has club that teaches people how to keep their environment clean and safe and how to plant trees to conserve the environment.
“What we are doing here is we have to work with the fishermen to encourage them because if you leave them they may not do it. We asked them to come out this morning 7am and because of the heavy downpour, which I will refer to as showers of blessing, we could not make it at 7am.
“We came to clean the water and not just the water but the surrounding of the water.
“If refuse and debris are thrown into the water, obviously it is going to disrupt the ecosystem of the water, you are going to have polluted water and even the oxygen in the water would be distorted as a result of the waste.”
A major partner in the project, Femi Adegoke, described Mercy Project as a very laudable one that is important to take care of the environment, and water.
“As we all know that water is life, this is a water body that the community depends on so it is important to make it clean. It is important that they desist from dumping waste in the water to prevent it from being polluted.
“There are economic activities going on here in the Lake like the fishing, they depend on this water body for their livelihood including maybe drinking but we hope they don’t drink directly but in the event they do we hope they boil the water before drinking.
“The project might seem seemingly small but it has a huge impact. I have done evaluations of similar projects like this and what I find very interesting is the unintended outcome of doing very small things like this.
“What they want to do is that they want to clear all the sourounding to move all the disposable material from the water. They want to enlighten them about why not to put refuse very close to the water body.
“These are some of the initiatives, clearing all these refuse and also ensuring that going forward this doesn’t happen again. Ideally, they should dispose their refuse far away from the water body because the refuse when they get into the water they cause more harm than good.
“This type of initiative can also reduce conflict and build peace within the community because if you look at the partway it is a small one, I am sure that by the time peoples boats collide there would be conflict and they can start fighting but with the clearance that would not be.
“I am excited about this project. It might look insignificant but it is very impactful and I am proud to be associated with the launch of the three-day activity.”
He said the fishermen in the community have been commissioned to do the clearance, saying they will be taking a picture before the clearance and come back on a later date to see what the difference would be.
A medical practitioner of 15 years experience, Dr. Adaora Keazor commended the sponsors of the project describing it as a good initiative as she prayed God to bless the Mercy Project.
She pleaded with the inhabitants of the community to ensure they don’t consume the water without boiling.
“So please anything that will go into the mouth, water must be boiled properly, fruits and vegetables have to be washed and prepared well, nobody should eat anything that is half cooked so that whatever germs inside can be taken care of.
“We are near the water, there would be mosquitoes and all, we should try and wear things that cover up to reduce the mosquito bites, anybody not having anything to do with the water should not be playing around.
“Even where we sleep, there are different ways of getting rid of mosquitoes so we need to protect ourselves from all these things that make us ill. A clean environment will definitely produce a healthy community,” she said.
The traditional ruler of the community, Alhaji Adamu Isah, said they have been using the water from the lake for their domestic activities since there was no other source of potable water.
While explaining that they are from the Agatu speaking tribe of Benue State, he added that they have been living in the community for more than three decades.
“Our major problem is that our children urinate blood because of the effect of the water,” he stated, adding that some persons and many organisations that came were told of the peculiar challenge, but with no positive response.
However, he pointed out that a women group came to give the children some injections against the health challenge of urination with blood.
The monarch promised sustaining the sanitation exercise so as to make the environment clean all the time, even as he appealed to the government to come to their aid.
Culled from the Guardian