Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Commuters plying the Nyanya-Mararaba Road and hawkers are at each other’s throat. Their disagreement is on the necessity and viability of the expansion of the going expressway.
While commuters said the development would reduce hours commuters spend along the corridor and engender business, hawkers complained that they would lose patronage because vehicles would be on the fast lane after completion.
A “keke” driver, Ahmed Dogo, told Daily Sun that his “keke” has fallen on that road several times due to the numerous potholes. He regretted that one of their colleagues lost his life on the road last week when his “keke” fell and he was run over by a vehicle.
A bus conductor, Michael Ujah, said he almost died of injuries sustained on that road when their bus rammed into another while avoiding a bad spot: “I want to thank the government for responding to our cries. Commuters along this road have really suffered dehumanisation.”
Mr Silvester Mba advised government to stop the palliative work on the road as it adds to the problem instead of ameliorating it.: “What the road needs is regeneration and reconstruction just like what they are doing now. With the additional service lanes, businesses would be done faster and movement would be less stressful.”
Mr Obla, a resident of Nyanya said: “Imagine, I wake up by 4am to prepare for work every day if I must be in the office by 7am. Any day I miss that time I will get to office between 10am and 11am. Also, to beat the gridlock I have to leave office before closing hours.”
While commuters are rejoicing over the project, hawkers along Nyanya Road seem not to appreciate the development. A banana seller who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said motorists would no longer stop to buy their wares because they would be on a highway. Corn roasters along the road explained that when the road is completed, motorists would be on a fast lane, making it difficult for them to stop and buy corns.
Some government officials who intermittently use the road appealed to government to fix the road. Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Philip Gyunka, called on the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), to expand the Nyanya/Mararaba Road to ease persistent difficulties faced by residents:
“We visited the FCTA and from records, $500 million was taken as loan from China EXIM Bank and other loans for FCT development. Part of the loans is to construct some network of roads for the FCT, to make for easy movement to and from work and to make FCT befitting of a federal capital.
“Unfortunately, most of the people working in the FCT who live around Karu, Nyanya, Maraba have not benefited from any of the loans. As we speak, there is only one access road to the area that needs expansion. The difficulty residents face on the road, as a result of gridlock, has a lot of negative impact on the output of civil servants in the various ministries.
“Sometimes, people that live in that axis do not get to work until 12 noon and the moment they get to their offices, the next thought is how to leave the office early to avoid gridlock. Invariably, the government is at the receiving end. The concern here is that government concentrates on Airport road which does not require as much attention as the Nyanya-Mararaba Road.”