Residents of SARS Road, Rukpokwu, in the Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, have lamented over the poor condition of the major access-linked road.
The resident, who spoke to our correspondent, said they have called on the attention of the state administration to fix the access link road, but so far nothing has been done, adding that little progress had been made in repairing the road by residents but the effort was not enough.
Miracle Akpan, a new mother who resides in that area, appeals to the appropriate government parastatals of the state to reconstruct the road.
“I spend so much money on transportation, I have to stop at several points to change to different keke that will take an alternative route to boycott. The bad road makes me spend so much time going to my workplace, most of the time, I arrive there late and I have to pay a penalty for being late due to the road” she said.
Mercy Emmanuel*, a pregnant woman who formerly lived on SARS Road and worked as a teacher, recounts the challenges she encountered while traveling the route during her prenatal days.
Mercy said she resigned from her position as a teacher because she was unable to deal with the road’s bad state, which nearly caused her to tumble off the tricycle into a pool of rainwater.
“There was a day when I was returning from the Health Centre to Happy Bite, I fell from the Keke, I had to rush to the hospital because it was so so bad. If the road is not fixed, it could cause serious health challenges for more pregnant women,” she added.
Ruth Ologe, a matron at Olaolu Hospital in Ilorin said that regular use of hazardous roads might lead to stress during pregnancy, preterm contractions, preterm labor, and bleeding for pregnant women.
“Depending on how far the travel is, it may also result in leg swelling, varicosities, or recurrence of weak veins.” She added.
Mrs. Success Sunday, another pregnant lady, described the road as being dreadful at one point and narrated how a church went so far as to provide voluntary service to ensure that its members and other road users make use of the road by building a walkway locally made of stacks of bags filled with sands and cars tires.
“A church called, The Spring of Life Global Ministry also known as The Chapel of Light located adjacent to the pool of water where bacteria breed went as far as hiring a pumping machine, used in pumping out the pool of water made by rain.
“Early last year, two non-governmental organizations posed to be the messiahs in their attempt to build the SARS Road, but their petitions were turned down, she claimed.”
Our correspondent, who visited the area, observed that the road has bad drainage problems. Also, vehicles can only reach certain places in the area.
Another pregnant woman, Precious Ibe, also lamented that “The road has affected me so much. Whenever I make use of the road, it gives me headaches and body pain. When I get home, I will have a body massage.
“At times the stress of the road comes with unbearable pain in my lower abdomen and waistline. For these reasons, I have to visit the hospital and my doctor advised me to stay off from anything that could cause stress on me, and this road I can’t avoid,” She added.
A staff of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, who pleaded anonymity also disliked that on several instances, they had rushed pregnant ladies who have fallen from keke into a bacterial breeding pool on the horrible road to a medical institution to receive treatment.
SARS Road serves as a major link to access several routes to different places within Rumodumaya/Rukpokwu/Eli-Kpokpodu and outside the community, which has been in this poor condition for years.
The route also connects to Aluu link Road, the anti-cultism unit formerly known as SARS headquarters, Obio-Akpor International Market, and Port Harcourt International Airport. Despite being the major route that connects others, this road has deeply posed a threat to pregnant women and new mothers whenever they want to pay a visit to the nearby Primary Healthcare Centre.