Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Students and youths, including drivers of mini buses in Awka, capital of Anambra State, yesterday, blocked the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway in protest.
The action, which caused chaos and hardship among motorists, saw hundreds of vehicles, including articulated vehicles, politicians’ convoys and other road users trapped for one hour.
The temporary shutdown of the expressway at the Ikenga junction Awka, was organised by a group, Recover Nigeria Project (RNP).
It, however, took the intervention of the Commissioner for Transport, Uchenna Okafor, who pleaded with the protesters to vacate the road and allow flow of traffic, pledged to take their grievances to the governor.
Okafor, who expressed displeasure that the group did not complain or seek audience with governor of the state before embarking on the protest, reminded them that the road in question is a federal road, but assured that the state will do a palliative work on it.
Speaking to newsmen at the scene of the protest, the Coordinator of Recover Nigeria Project, 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 bad spot which has become a death trap.
“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 number of people have lost their lives on 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 rot on this spot. Just yesterday, I was almost hit by an articulated vehicle here, and several accidents have happened here within the week. We cannot continue to fold our hands.”
Also, Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Nnamdi Azikiwe University chapter, Steve Ubaro, said a professor of the university was, last week, involved in an accident while returning from work.
Leader of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Mr Okolie Ikechukwu said a student, who also drives a shuttle bus was recently involved in an accident on the spot. He lost an ear.
Ikechukwu said within the week, no fewer than five accidents have occured on the road and, because it is a regular route for students of the university, NANS decided to join in the protest.