Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Students and youths including drivers of minibuses in Awka, Anambra State, blocked the Enugu-Onitsha expressway in protest.
The action which caused chaos and hardship for motorists saw hundreds of vehicles and road users trapped in the queue for close to one hour.
The temporary shutdown of the road at the Ikenga junction, Awka, was organised by a
group, Recover Nigeria Project (RNP).
It, however, took the intervention of the state Commissioner for Transport, Mr Uchenna Okafor, who pleaded with the protesters to vacate the road and allow follow for the free flow of traffic, pledging to take their grievances to the state governor.
Okafor who expressed displeasure that the group did not complain or sought an audience with the governor of the state before embarking on the exercise reminded them that the road in question was a federal road but assured that the state would do a palliative work on it.
Speaking to newsmen at the scene of the protest, the Coordinator of Recover Nigeria Project, Mr Osita Obi, said the group decided to embark on the protest to call the attention of the government to the plight of road users, because of the numerous bad spots which had become a death trap.
He said: “This is just a small portion, which will not take 50 bags of cement, some stones and workers to fix, but it has remained like this for years, and uncountable numbers of people have lost their lives at this spot.
“The governor uses this road; senators and top politicians from Anambra and beyond and even religious leaders all use this road, yet they pretend not to see the challenge this road has been having.
“Just yesterday, I was almost hit by an articulated vehicle here; several accidents have happened here within the week. We cannot continue to fold our hands and watch this happen.
“We have given the state and federal governments 72 hours to immediately commence work on the failed portions of this road; failure to heed to this, we will return and there will be a total shutdown”
Also speaking, the Chairman Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Nnamdi Azikiwe University chapter, Steve Ubaro, who also mobilised his members to the protest said a professor of the university was last week involved in an accident at the spot while returning from work.
The leader of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Mr Okolie Ikechukwu, said that a student who also drives a shuttle bus was recently involved in an accident at the spot, causing him to lose an ear.
Ikechukwu noted that within the week, no fewer than five auto accidents had been witnessed on the road, and because it was a regular route for students of the university, NANS decided to join in the protest.