By NWADIKE UGOCHUKWU, Port Harcourt
The deplorable state and continued neglect of the Eleme – Onne section of the East/West Road (Rivers State) is now a subject of litigation at the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The former President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Mr. Ledum Mitee, has sued the Federal government for gross neglect, violation of his fundamental human rights, and for being responsible for the attendant carnage on the road.
In a five paragraph affidavit pursuant to order II, rules I and 3 of the fundamental rights (enforcement procedure) rules 2009 and sections 40, 41 (1) and 42 (1) (B) of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, Mr. Mitee, a legal practitioner is suing the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs on behalf of himself and as representing the interest of indigenes, residents and communities of Eleme, Ogoni, Okrika, Ogo-Bolo, Opobo, Andoni and Akwa Ibom State including other commuters of the Port Harcourt – Onne Junction section of the East/West Road.
Mitee filed the motion on notice for an order for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights in Suit No: FHC/PH/FHR/158/2017 on August 18, 2017.
According to Mitee, who is also a human and environmental rights activist and a United Nations adopted defender of human rights, the action and, or inaction of the federal government in failing to reconstruct or putting the affected area of the East/West Road in good condition violated his constitutional rights to freedoms of movement and association.
The former MOSOP President insists the death trap to which the Eleme – Onne Junction section of the East/West Road has been turned into is occasioned by the insufficient provision of resources by the federal government to complete the section of the road and the imbalance in allocation and disbursement of funds and resources by the concerned agencies of government across the country for similar road projects which is a further violation of his constitutional right to freedom from discrimination.
Ledum Mitee is, therefore, demanding that the federal government be directed forthwith to complete or fund the completion of the axis of the East/West Road from Eleme Junction on Aba Port Harcourt expressway by providing adequate funds and resources to effectively repair, fix and put to good commutable state the collapsed parts of the Eleme – Onne Junction section of the East/West Road.
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The grounds on which Mitee is holding the federal government to account among others, include the fact that he can no longer practice his profession in the courts in Eleme and Bori, Ogoni, all in Rivers State due to the sorry state of the portion of the road leading to loss of income, can no longer travel to his village to associate with his family members and attend to their needs at home.
Most remarkably, according to him are the incessant motor accidents on that road occasioned by the bad condition of the road and which has claimed scores of lives.
“And by allocating and providing more funds to similar projects in other parts of the country and making very meagre and hopeless inadequate allocation of fund and providing no disbursement for the completion of the Eleme – Onne Junction section of the East/West Road amounts to discrimination which is an infringement of my fundamental right”, Mitee further contended.
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