Telecommunications Company, MTN Nigeria Plc., has partnered with the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) to open up an 18-kilometer stretch of the Enugu-Onitsha expressway.
This newly completed section of the road is part of a larger 214-kilometer project aimed at improving road infrastructure and connectivity in the region.
The opening of this section is expected to stimulate economic activities and provide relief to road users, especially during the festive period when traffic is usually heavy.
The dual carriage Enugu-Onitsha expressway was opened on Thursday with the theme, “Safer Road, Fuller Life, Beautiful Holidays.”
In an address, the MTN Enterprise Manager, Enugu region, Chinenye Muoneke expressed gratitude to the Minister of Works, Dave Umahi for the role he has played in seeing that a section of the road was opened this period, saying that there won’t be any extension time from the project period.
“The MTN Community Liaison Initiative model began in October 2023 when Nigeria Communications PLC (MTN) appointed Crown Crest Global Engineers Ltd (CCGE) as the Community Liaison Manager (Consultants) of the RITC Project, which involves the repair, rehabilitation, and reconstruction of the 107km x 2 Onitsha – Enugu Dual Carriageway
“This particular CLI is a baby of MTN Communications Nigeria Ltd., and its major function is to assess the impact of the road rehabilitation exercise on the people and communities along the work corridor and see how the experience can be mutually beneficial to all the stakeholders involved and affected by the road rehabilitation work.”Muoneke said.
Also in an address, the Zonal Commander, Federal Roads Safety Commission, FRSC, Assistant Corps Marshall Ochaja Ameh said that the singular act of taking up one of the most dilapidated roads in Nigeria, the Enugu-Onitsha dual carriageway, by MTN Communications Nigeria PLC has shown that it is an organization that has the common good of the Nigerian masses at heart.
Ameh however, warned commercial drivers and other road users to avoid anything that would cause car crashes during this festive period.
“Avoid overloading, overseeding, making or receiving calls while driving, you should also avoid alcohol and any substance that can induce the sensory organs and the brain.”Ameh said
Meanwhile, the Enugu State Commissioner for Works, Gerald Otiji said that taking up the project from the state where it was met and running with it till the present state and beyond has not been easy. He, however, asked for more.
“We are like Oliver Twist; we are asking for more. The administration of Peter Mbah is not looking at whether this or that road was a federal road or a state road. What we do is reconstruct those that are entirely bad and fill the potholes in those that are still fair and motorable. I am, however, thrilled by the MTN action.” Otiji said.
The representative of Crown Crest Global Engineers, CCGE who are the contractors handling the expressway, Reginald Facah said that taking up the project from the state it was met and running with it till the present state and beyond has not been an all-rosy experience, but they are determined to see it till the end.
“As a concept, community liaison is simply a go-between function between two or more person, groups and institutions with an intention of ensuring that mutual benefits, fairness, justice and a joint sense of ownership pervade the relationship. It is an impressively rehabilitated and reconstructed stretch of the Enugu-Onitsha dual carriageway.” Facah stated
The rehabilitation of the Enugu-Onitsha dual carriageway will ensure that the 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 project in their vicinity.
The decision to embark on the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Enugu-Onitsha dual carriageway by MTN Communications Nigeria Ltd. is perhaps her greatest public relations coup in the history of the company. Before now, the road that links states in the South-South to the South East and the Middle Belt States has been an eyesore for several years. And not even the best intentions from successive governments have been of any appreciable help until MTN arrived on the scene.
Christmas times are special times for the average South Easterner, but the sad state of her roads has discouraged many from embarking on this annual ritual. However, with the present state of the Enugu-Onitsha Road after the MTN intervention, many people will gladly make the trip home this year, with vehicular and human traffic from the Onitsha bridge down to the Abakpa 82 division end of the road expected to be heavy and traffic control very hectic.
The opening of some partially completed sections of the dual carriageway will ameliorate the anticipated traffic logjam on the road and is expected to make the drive-through a whole lot easier and better.
While the benefits of this current project are obvious to members of the public when they commence driving on it tomorrow, MTN and the Federal Government are committed to delivering critical infrastructure.
“We understand the regional and national economic benefits of well-performing transport corridors. We will be giving priority to projects that will stimulate economic growth in our major regions and the national economy and offer a considerable number of safety and social benefits.” Facah stated.