Nigeria: Youths protest bad roads in Niger, Imo

Economic activities were paralysed on Monday in Minna, Niger State, as youths blocked the Suleja-Minna Expressway to protest the deplorable condition of the road.

The youth, numbering about 500, carried placards with different inscriptions, chanted anti-government slogans and prevented vehicles from moving in and out of Minna.

The angry youths, under the umbrella of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Niger State chapter, barricaded the Chanchaga Road around 6am and left hundreds of travellers stranded.

Primary and secondary school pupils, who were going to school, were forced to return to their parents and guardians.

Another group of youths blocked the Bida-Minna and Minna-Tegina highways.

However, the Youth President and coordinator of the protests, Mohammed Estu, vowed that the youth would not leave the roads until the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, addressed them.

However, the Youth President and coordinator of the protests, Mohammed Estu, vowed that the youth would not leave the roads until the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, addressed them.

He called on the Federal Government to fund the numerous contracts awarded for trunk ‘A’ roads in the state and expedite action on the dualisation of the Minna-Suleja Road that was awarded since 2010.

Etsu also appealed to Governor Abubakar Bello to increase funding and rehabilitation of trunk ‘B’ roads in the state to make life, movement and economic activities easier for Niger State residents.

He stated, “We demand the disclosure of the identities of the contractors handling all awarded federal and state road contracts to enable us follow up the progress of work. In the next two months, if the contractors handling the Lambata-Agaie-Bida, Bangi, Rijau Bridge and the Suleja-Minna Road are not mobilised to site, the coalition will be left with no option but to prevent trucks from plying the bad roads.

“The Government of Niger State is hereby given 72 hours to ensure the strict implementation of the existing law restraining heavy trucks from plying trunk ‘B’ roads between 6am and 9pm.”

In Imo State, residents of the popular Toronto junction area at Umuoba Uratta on the MCC/Uratta Road in the Owerri North Local Government Area of the state have called on Governor Emeka Ihedioha to come to their aid by reconstructing the dilapidated MCC/Uratta Road and seeing to the evacuation of the refuse dumped at the junction.

A resident, Mr Remigius Ngoka, told one of our correspondents on Monday that before now, the junction was not a dump, but that it had now become one of the major dumps in the state.

He also said that the road before the Toronto junction had cut into two, making it very difficult for motorists to cross to the other side of the road.

“Where the road spoilt has divided the road, making the other end of it very difficult to access. Motor vehicles cannot pass the flooded area before the Toronto junction. Most times, bus drivers collect N150 per passenger because of the bad spots of the road instead of N100,” he added.

Another resident, Mrs Geraldine Njoku, stated that all the link roads from Egbu to the MCC/Uratta Road had spoilt, making access very difficult because of the one-road network.

“Most of the residents of the link roads have vacated their residences because of flood. Flood has taken over the place and people now fear for their lives. Up to four link roads to the MCC/Uratta Road have spoilt; the worst is the Egbu /Chukwuma Nwaoha Road,” she stated.

Another resident, Chief Chijioke Nwagwu, complained of the repulsive odour being emitted by the dump at the roundabout, stating that those living around the area were having health challenges.

He called on the Imo state Environment Transformation Commission to come and clear the refuse at the junction, adding that the roundabout was an eyesore.

When contacted on the telephone, the General Manager, ENTRACO, Mr Alex Emeziem, stated that by next week, officials of the agency would visit the area and evacuate the refuse.

Residents of the Chukwuma Nwaoha Road in Owerri also called on Ihedioha to come to their rescue by working on the road.

A resident, Mr Gregory Osuji told our correspondent on Monday that the road was covered by flood at a point and that the flood had found its way into people’s homes.

He said that the road was a link to the Egbu Road and had resulted in the collapse of many houses, which had forced many residents to vacate their houses.

When contacted, the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Mr Nkemdirim Raymond, said efforts were being made to flush out robbers from the area.

Written by Enyioha Opara and Gibson Achonu Punch reporters

Source Punch