From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
Traders at the bridgehead and other road users have appealed to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State to intervene in the deplorable Niger Street and Port Harcourt roads.
The road which runs through the bridgehead to Main Market has been a death trap for some years now without any major repairs.
Worst hit portion is the Uba Plank Wood Market and Port Harcourt road junction.
The road links traders and residents from bridgehead to Main Market from Fegge to bridgehead and traders from Niger Delta region to Main Market back to Asaba Park at bridgehead Onitsha.
President of Bridgehead Market, Chief Sunday Obinze who noted that Governor Obiano had promised to rehabilitate the road appealed for speedy action because of the rainy season.
“The governor promised to rehabilitate the road in one of the meetings with him in Awka last year, but up till now nothing has been done. The road is getting worst everyday due to the rainy season that has set in. We want to remind the governor and appeal to him to come to our aid to reconstruct the road to stop gridlock and accident caused by the bad road.
“I know that he will rehabilitate the road because he promised to do it, but we are talking about the urgency to save lives and property. Niger Street is the major road and then some portions of Port Harcourt road which need to be repaired. We are doing our best to reconstruct and rehabilitate roads inside the markets,” he said.
Chairman of Uba Planks and Joint Association Limited, dealers of woods and building materials along Niger Street, Mr Anthony Chiloli also lamented that the deplorable road was affecting their business adversely.
“The road is getting worse day by day, minute by minute, which has caused many accidents. We have tried to fill up some potholes but due to the rainy season, it’s becoming worse. Any time we fill the potholes, if the rain falls it will be washed away.
“We have drawn government’s attention to the road and they have visited the road, even the member representing Onitsha South Constituency at the House of Assembly, Mr Paddy also visited and inspected the road and promised to ensure that the road is rehabilitated. The state government told us to exercise patience that they will rehabilitate the road, but I know the economic situation we are into now, so we are not blaming them much because they have been trying to provide basic amenities, security of lives and property and infrastructural development to the state.
“We know that Governor Obiano is trying, but we are begging him to come to our aid and rehabilitate the road.
A trader from Delta State, Mrs Agnes Eseme also lamented over the state of the road, saying that thieves sometimes come to the bad portion of the road to their snatch their hand bags and attack traders in the morning due to the condition of the road.
“We pass through this road to Main Market every week to buy goods, but for the past one year we have been passing through terrible things, we are being robbed along this road because even Okada cannot run fast on the road, Keke cannot move, you must slow down due to the deplorable condition of the road. If you enter Keke thieves will snatch your handbag inside the Keke tricycle,” Mrs Eseme lamented.
Another resident of Fegge in Onitsha, Mr Joshua Obidimma narrating his experience on the road said that they now pass through Upper Iweka or Coca Cola Junction to get to bridgehead instead of plying the Niger Street which is shorter and a straight road due to the condition of the road, especially when it rained.
“Some of us living in Fegge always make use of the road when going to bridgehead, Asaba, Road Safety office or markets within this area but since the road totally collapsed, we find it difficult to cross. We now use other routes far from us to get to our destinations. The gridlock along the road in the evening will make one cry. Sometimes, lorries fall and block the road.
“This road is the last road before the River Niger and the only road that connects all these areas to other parts of the city or states. We are appealing to government to help us rehabilitate it to alleviate the sufferings of commuters and residents,” Obidimma pleaded.