By Benedict Okethwengu
NEBBI - For the first time in over 20 years, the residents of Atego sub-county in Nebbi will have their key road refurbished.
The Akaba-Paminya road, connecting over 8,000 residents in the sub-county to Nebbi district headquarters, was last worked on in the 1990s, according to Pangarasio Arima, an elder in the area.
Robert Okumu, the Nebbi LC5 chairman, launched the repair works on the road on Friday, amid ululation from the community. The launch took place at Paminya Health Centre III.
Severino Oyoma, 88, the Paminya clan chief, said he does not remember exactly when the road was opened.
However, he remembers that Awacho Bridge that was built on the Akaba-Paminya road, was washed away in the 1990s, just two months after it was constructed.
He added that trucks taking drugs to Paminya Health Centre would stop mid-way and the residents would be mobilised to carry the drugs on their heads to the health centre on the other side of the broken bridge.
The 16km Akaba-Paminya road connects residents to Paminya Health Centre III, Nebbi Hospital in Nebbi town as well as Paminya and Akaba primary schools in Kucwiny sub-county.
Okumu regretted the district’s failure to maintain the road, saying it was not possible because it needed a lot of funds.
He said sh173m has been set for the project.
“We believe having good roads linking rural to urban areas is critical in ensuring an inclusive, equal and just society, which the district is striving to build,” he said.
He explained that the project involves opening the road, constructing a bridge and later recruiting workers to maintain it regularly.
Goretty Biwinjere, a resident of Nyayamu village, said a number of pregnant mothers who have been referred to Nebbi Hospital ended up delivering on the way due to the poor nature of the road.
“Whenever it rains, we find it difficult to go to the market or health centre because the road becomes impassable. Above all, some pregnant mothers fail to make it to Arua Hospital even after being referred there,” she said.
Patrick Agwokotho, the Atego LC3 chairperson, said the revival of the road will promote development in the sub-county. “We have missed out on many projects because of the bad road,” he said.
Mark Tivu, the Nebbi deputy chief administrative officer, urged the residents to co-operate with workers for the road works to go on smoothly.