Flood waters have submerged many parts
By Shola Oyeyipo
On Thursday, October 4, when the Kogi State governor, Captain Idris Wada, had to travel to Abuja for an important meeting, his entire convoy and entourage were ferried from Lokoja to Banda because of the gridlock caused by the flood along the Lokoja - Abuja highway. This was despite a promise by the Minister of Works, Architect Mike Onolememen, during a disaster assessment visit to the state, that an alternative road would be opened to enable stranded travellers proceed on their journeys, as Kogi had been virtually cut off from the rest of Nigeria.
As at Saturday, no fewer than 2, 000 trailers and automobiles were still languishing in a traffic gridlock that stretched over 20 kilometres on both sides of the major road that leads to Abuja.
Consequently, for scores of travellers that have spent several days on both ends, it is a tale of pain, despair, and anguish, as unquantifiable man-hours are lost by those stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Lamenting the plight of the road users, former Special Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo on Special Duties, Chief Tunde Olusunle, told THISDAY, “I learnt very reliably from sundry sources, including my driver who was on the road, Wednesday and Thursday, that the so-called diversion at Banda, which was handled by Julius Berger, RCC & Gitto for a reported whopping sum of N1.5 billion, has failed. The diversion is narrow and cannot make for smooth traffic flow from opposite directions and the laterite top-soil has caved in beneath the elephantine weight of vehicular movement.”
Olusunle reiterated that it was as a result of the failure of the road that Wada’s convoy had to be ferried across the River Niger.
“Now Sallah, Christmas, and New Year celebrations are at the corner, and these festivals traditionally necessitate very heavy human and vehicular movements, aside the usual highway traffic.”