Kwara community cautions govt on Owu Water Falls road construction Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin

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Indigenes of Owa-Onire community in Ifelodun local government area of Kwara State have appealed to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to discard plan on construction of a 21-kilometre road leading to Owu waterfalls in the community, describing the move as wasteful.

In a statement by the Concerned Indigenes of Owa Onire community, jointly signed by its coordinator, Mr. Adebola Ogunbiyi and its spokesperson, Sunday Akanbi, the people advised the government to instead complete the initial route to the waterfall which was started in 2008 by former Governor Bukola Saraki.

Their call came up barely three days after the state executive council approved fresh contract for construction of a 21-kilometre road which leads to Owu falls road, with its first phase planned to gulp over N3.9b.

According to the people, the initial contract, started by Saraki’s administration is already 20 per cent completed, adding that the initial road should be executed to completion rather than initiating fresh contract on another route for the same purpose.

The group added that the initial contractor, “Bulletine construction company Nigeria Limited has worked and asphalted three kilometres of the 15-kilometre Owu-falls road project.

“Only three kilometres out of the 15km road stretch (representing only 20 per cent) from Iwo/Sabaja-Isin to Oba-Isin was tarred while the remaining 12-km from Oba-Isin-Owa-Onire-Owu falls was only opened up to the foot of the waterfall and eventually abandoned since 2010 after millions of Naira had been committed to the project”, they said.

The people said that the state government was deceived into awarding another contract by some politicians they described as selfish.

“In terms of distance, the remaining 12-km road is shorter than the fresh 21-km road with a difference of 9km. This 12-km road from Owa-Onire leads right to the foot of the falls without having to alight from vehicle and trek certain hilly
distance, unlike the other proposed road.

“Not less than 10 communities along this 12km linear road will have it pass through them and benefit directly (Ijara-Isin, Iji-Isin, Owu-lsin, Sabaja-Isin, Oba-Isin and Owa-Onire) or serve indirectly (lwo-Isin, Kudu Owode, Pamo-lsin, Odo-Ore) and could prompt swift growth in their social-economic development.

“The geophysical nature of the 12km 0ba-Isin-Owa-Onire
Owu-Falls road makes it less hilly thereby making its construction
less laborious unlike the other proposed road”, they posited.

“In terms of cost of construction, one needs no soothsayer to know that the short distance of 12km 0ba-Isin-Owa-Onire-Owu-Falls
road with easy geophysical nature will certainly have its cost of
construction reduced to the barest minimum as compared to a
longer 21-km road with more mountainous hilly terrain.

“More glaring is the fact that the 12km Oba-Isin-Owa-Onire-Owu-Falls road has been in use and is currently still in use by tourists to visit the great Water Falls”, they argued.

They reminded the Governor of his promise on Sunday, December 15, 2019 to complete the abandoned 15km road.

“We see this as very unfair and we abhor it. In view of all the above highlighted reasons, Owa-Onire
Community is hereby appealing to Governor AbdulRazaq and the innermost conscience of the state government to revisit the issue of Owu-Falls road construction project with a view to righting the wrongs by also awarding the construction and completion of this 12km Oba-Isin-Owa-Onire-Owu-Falls road to a serious and competent contractor that will ensure its completion with fiat to avoid a repeat of the abandonment it suffered during the former Governor Bukola Saraki administration.

Recall that Owu falls is the highest waterfall in West Africa measuring 120 metres above water level and cascading 330 feet down an escarpment a major boost for tourism in not just the state but in Nigeria and West Africa subregion.


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