Some Students of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, embarked on a peaceful protest on Monday over the deplorable state of Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene Road in the state.
The road is a federal highway that links Abia and Akwa Ibom States together.
The students, about 100 of them, marched through major streets in Umuahia, holding placards with inscriptions such as “Fix Umuahia-Ikot-Ekpene Road”, “Enough is Enough”, “I want to graduate and be a corper, not a corpse.”
They expressed displeasure over the inability of the federal government to fix the road and said the poor state of the road was responsible for road accidents that have claimed several lives, especially students of the school.
They called for immediate remedial action on the road.
The President of the Students’ Union Government of the university, Chukwuma Ugochukwu, said the poor state of the road has caused severe hardship for road users.
Mr Ugochukwu said a student from the university was killed on Sunday in an accident along the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene Road.
“We are no longer comfortable with that road, this road has caused the school so much loss. We seek immediate government attention for the road.
“We are giving four days ultimatum to the state government to commence palliative works on the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene Road,” the student leader said.
A student of the university, James Daniel, said a contract was awarded in 2019 for the rehabilitation of the road, but that only drainage had been done so far.
Reacting to the students’ protest, the Secretary to the Abia State Government, Chris Ezem, said the state government would commence palliative work on the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene Road to make it passable, even though it is a federal road.
“We are not playing politics with the road and cannot afford to lose any more lives on the road. Our sympathy goes to the family of the deceased,” Mr Ezem said.