Communities in Edo Block Bad Benin-Sapele Road

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Adibe Emenyonu

There was chaos in several parts of Benin City, capital of Edo State yesterday as residents of Ogheghe and other communities near the by-pass along Benin – Sapele road blocked the road for the fourth day, complaining about its bad state that has made it impassable.

A resident in the area, Omo Osifo said the reason for the protest was because of deaths in that axis of the road, the latest being the killing of a young man by a truck that was driving against traffic to avoid the bad spot.

He said: “Why should the government not fix that road? We heard that the state government is saying it is a federal road but how does that affect us, we don’t know federal road, we know we are in Edo state where there is a government, we have the local government, we have the oil and gas commission, we have NDDC, we have commissioners but nobody is listening to us.

“If it is a federal road, Governor Obaseki should inform the federal government about it. How will you feel schools are writing examinations and your children are not able to go to school because of bad roads?”

A message to the Head of Road Maintenance of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) in Edo state, Ben Olisa is yet to be replied as at the time of filing this report.

Meanwhile, bus drivers mostly those who ply the Benin-New Lagos road, withdrew their services over alleged extortion by personnel of the Edo State Traffic Management Agency (EDSTMA) and Public Works Volunteers (PUWOV).

Consequently, commuters on that route had to trek long distances before they could get vehicles to take them half way to their destinations, forcing them to trek the remaining distance as the protesting bus drivers blocked parts of the Benin – Ugbowo Road.

The drivers took over some sections of the road causing traffic in some areas while other sections were completely deserted.

One of the drivers, Emmanuel Kanya complained that there are not enough signs on the road to show where they can park or not and that the extortion is telling on their ability to pay back the buses they have acquired on hire purchase between N2.7 million to N3 million.

But when contacted, the Managing Director of EDTSMA, Dennis Oloriegbe denied the allegation saying: “We have gone the extra mile to educate them on where they should park or not to park. We put signposts and they go to remove them at night. We have arrested a driver with our signposts in his boot so they have to obey the laws.”

He, however, said the agency is having a roundtable with the drivers.”