Polaku, Bayelsa community, agonises abandoned road project by NDDC
The non-completion of the Kolokuma- Sabagriea –Polaku road in Bayelsa State by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) many years after the award of the contract is giving communities around the area cause for concern.
The road project was designed to connect communities in Yenagoa and Kolokuma-Opokuma local government areas of Bayelsa State and provide an alternative route from the East-West road into the state capital.
But, our correspondent, who visited Polaku community, one of the areas the road project was to connect, reports that indigenes and residents are lamenting the socio-economic effect of the abandoned project.
Polaku is one of 11 communities that make up Gbarain kingdom in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, while Sabagriea is in Kolokuma/ Opokuma Local Government Area.
Polaku is a confluence town where the Taylor Creek meets the Nun River which runs through Kaiama, Sabagriea and meets the Taylor Creek at Polaku, continuing from there into Southern Ijaw; taking water into the Atlantic Ocean, via other tributaries.
To link the communities in the area by road, the civilian administration of the late Chief Melford Okilo in old Rivers State conceived and commenced the project in1982 but could not continue following the military coup that ended the civil rule.
With the project abandoned, the NDDC took over in the year 2000.
Unfortunately, the contract for the project, which was re-awarded to Elite Construction Company Limited with one or two bridges completed has again been abandoned; compelling those seeking to pass through Polaku to Kolokuma/Opokuma to be ferried across the Taylor creek by some women or children who then board motorcycles to Kaiama; after linking the East/West Road at Opokuma junction.
According to the paramount ruler of Polaku, Chief Barnabas Tarila, the non-completion of the road takes its toll on the people.
An indigene of the community, Elder Oyoro Izon-Owei, outlined some of the potential socio-economic benefits the people would have enjoyed with the road.
Community rights activist, Mr. Alagoa Morris, charged the NDDC to complete the Kaiama-Kolokuma-Sabagrea-Polaku road.
Observers said that if the Sabagriea/Polaku route had been completed, the traffic challenge which often makes travelers spend several hours between Kaiama and Mbiama axis of the East West road would have been minimized.