…Vows to continue until FGN fix the road
By Simeon OSAJIE
It was a hectic day today morning, 1st of August, 2022 for motorists plying Benin/Sapele Road, Benin City, Edo State as they were stranded for several hours as residents of Sapele Road in Ikpoba Okha local government area blocked the Benin-Sapele road and its adjoining routes following the inability of the federal government to fix its failed portions.
The residents in a peaceful protest, mounted canopies and chairs on the major roads while youths were busy playing football and others displayed their wares for sales, an indication that they are not prepared to leave soon.
The9jaTREND gathered that the aggrieved group, on the platform of Freedom Ambassadors Organizations (FAO) in conjunction with Sarbag/Sapele Road residents, had warned residents in the state not to contemplate traveling Benin-Sapele road.
Addressing journalists, Mr. Daniel Omorogbe, Chairman, Sarbag/Sapele road axis, said the blocking of the major road and its adjoining streets has become necessary following series of deaths and unquantifiable hours commuters expend on the road while trying to get to their respective destinations.
He said when the road got bad previously, they went on a peaceful protest which drew the attention of the Edo State government to commence work on it but added that to their own amazement, the federal government halted the ongoing work, claiming that it is its own sole responsibility to fix the road and not the state government.
“Last year, we protested and Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki came and made his promise that within 24 hours, he is going to mobilize contractors to come and work and really, he did.
“He came with Hartland and Levant Contractors and after first day of their working, the federal government sent their troops to stop them.
“I was there and nobody told me about it. They asked the contractors to stop the work.
“He said the road belong to the federal government and not to the state.
“And ever since, they have not been working. So, we did another letter to the Federal Ministry of Works, Abuja under the supervision of Mr. Babatunde Fashola, they replied us.
“They said the road has been awarded to Levant Construction Company. I went to Levant to confirm and they said they didn’t award the road to them.
“I did another letter again to Mr. Babatunde Fashola, saying we want to have Sarbag meeting with him, they didn’t allow us to see him”, he said.
Omorogbe added that the residents of the environs have taken it upon themselves to avert unwarranted deaths on Benin-Sapele road and also put an end to the nightmares their children face when either going to school or returning from school.
“For us, our children, cannot access their places on time. If our children are going to school is a problem. Like the tanker that fell last two weeks here, supposed it happened in the afternoon, it would have been a disaster but the luck we had is that it happened at night.
“So we feel the pains of our brothers who lost their lives. The person that died there the other time, his marriage should have been done last Friday, he is our brother.
“Last year, similar thing happened, somebody died under the bridge. So, the property that have been destroyed is unquantifiable.
“We cannot just fold up our hands, we are all tax payers, let him come and fix the road, we are not begging him to give us money, let him come and work for us”, he said.
The leader of the group threatened to remain on the road pending when the federal government mobilizes its contractors to fix it.
“We are not leaving here any moment. If they come with their machine now, we will leave the road. If they come next month with their machine, we will leave the road, if it extend to Friday, the Muslim will say their prayers here and if extend to Sunday, we will do our service here”, he threatened.