By Dr. Joel Ademisoye
The Ondo State Government and the President Tinubu administration/ Federal Government of Nigeria/ Federal Ministry of Works- What is going on with the dilapidated Owo-Ifon-Benin City Roads and the insecurity challenges at Elegbeka village? This road axis/corridor is a notorious stop or location for the kidnapping of innocent Ondo State residents or other Nigerian citizens, who are frequently traveling along the axis.
In 2022, I vividly recall that my travel from Warri through Benin City to Owo, at Elegbeka village in Ifon, Ose Local Government of the state, this writer fell into a psychological and emotional coma with the fear of insecurity on my mind.
Honestly speaking, I was expecting the worst event of my life via the kidnapping of the passengers in our bus. Fortunately and luckily, we were saved and made the journey safely to our destination in Owo Town.
Imagine the regular travelers on the Owo/Ifon/Benin city road, what is their state of mind, with the serious concerns about insecurity and emotional wellness? Now, the dilapidated and poor conditions of the road have exacerbated and heightened the tensions, anxiety and fear of kidnapping of the travelers on the Ifon Road.
Recently, you may recall the SOS letter written by the National Coordinator, Chief Akinboro Aruwajoye, Owo Is One Association (OIOA), to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives and our amiable Governor of Ondo State, calling their attention to the deplorable conditions of the Owo-Ifon-Benin City Roads and the urgent need to take action to repair the Federal Highway. In the letter, the road was characterized as a “death trap.” Just this past Friday at this notorious location of Elegbeka known for kidnapping, 25 innocent and unsuspecting members of the CAC church traveling from Akure to Ifon to undertake a funeral ceremony were kidnapped.
It seems the current security arrangements at Elegbeka are porous, weak and ineffective at all. Thinking aloud, why can’t the Tinubu administration send and post a strong federal military team and presence to flush out the terrorists in their hide-out in the forests and to protect the citizens/residents at Elegbeka village and Ifon communities? The great dangers and risks of insecurity at Elegbeka village need to be addressed and eliminated at all costs. In fact, the kidnapping at Elegbeka is reached a nuisance and menace threshold, which the state and federal governments must find a long lasting solution to the chronic problems of kidnapping.
As a result, I appeal to and call on the State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, and other elected political leaders representing the North Senatorial District and federal constituency, the state in general in the Senate and House of Representatives in the National Assembly to use their good offices and political influence to bring the political pressure to bear on the Office of the Presidency in Abuja to take immediate action to fix this important road for security, economic, trade and tourism factors/reasons. Also, the State Governors of Ondo, Akeredolu and Edo, Obaseki could forge, form and present a formidable, strong joint and cooperative team and delegation to visit President Tinubu to discuss the state of the deplorable conditions of the Owo-Ifon-Benin City Road, its implications for the national economy, security and to seek the urgent action to repair it.
So, the residents of the Owo and Ose Local Governments are playing the waiting game for the positive response from the contacted politicians and political leaders in Abuja and Akure respectively. Remember the proverbial saying that a stitch in time, saves nine.