Sunday, February 18, 2018

Ikot Ekpene Urua Ottoh and Road Fencing Project

Urua Ottoh and Road Fencing Project: A Timely and Community Enhancing Initiative of the Uyime Etim Led Ikot Ekpene Local Government Administration.
ICMS, Inc Reports By Tom Okure, Ph.D Pictures: Courtesy of Victor Bassey

As Nigeria grows and more power is devolved to our local governments, it is becoming clear that they are increasingly playing a greater role in improving the quality of life and safety in our communities. The new and recently elected local government in Ikot Ekpene has been making efforts to make its presence known to the people by taking up projects such as road cleaning and the removal of rubbish in the streets that have been overlooked in the past. Recently, the new local government has taken on the challenge of enhancing public safety and controlling the free flow of traffic through Urua Ottoh by fencing off the road which cuts through this famous market. This is a very welcome development and initiative that has cut our attention.

A major city road slices through Ikot Ekpene's Urua Ottoh
If you have ever visited Urua Ottoh, it is very a busy and congested place with a major city road slicing through the market on both sides of the road and food and merchandise traders/vendors selling on the road way and blocking traffic from passing through. The market overlaps both sides of the road as is evident in the attached pictures.

Chairman of Ikot Ekpene Local Government Inspects the fence project at Urua Ottoh

Traders selling directly on the road way at Urua Ottoh Market

Laying the foundation of the fence at Urua Ottoh
The road and the market have coexisted for many years without posing a major problem in the past, but with increased economic development and a resultant increase in the population of the city, the market size has increased and traders utilizing the market to sell has also grown extensively without adequate selling stalls to accommodate their space needs.

The consequence of the lack of selling stalls for food traders have forced many traders to sell their merchandise directly on the road ways. When the market is in full operation during the afternoon and into the evening, the road is completely overtaken by traders selling on the road. As you can see from the pictures, this situation poses a serious hazard to the lives of traders as well as cars and motor cyclists attempting to pass through.

Conclusion and Policy Recommendation
This situation has existed for many years with many reported accidents and no remedial action has been taken until now. Fencing off the road is a good first step and policy initiative of the new local government that must be applauded for its foresight. It will prevent vendors from selling directly on the road way and endangering lives while preventing accidents and the free flow of traffic. However in the long run, the local government has to put in place a plan to build more trading stalls and modernize Urua Ottoh market to accommodate the needs of a growing city and population.