By Simeon OSAJIE
Commercial activities were today, 26th October, 2023 grounded to a halt in Benin City, Edo State capital following the protest by the residents of Ohovbe Community in Ikpoba Okha local government area of the State over the failed portions of Benin-Agbor-Onitsha road.
The protest which started on Wednesday, 25th October, first took its pangs on the citizens of the state on the day of commencement but the situation grew worse today as it fell on a market day, thereby forcing the residents in the area to trek a very long distance to their destinations with their loads on their heads, while travellers are left stranded for days.
Residents of the area were seen playing football on the major road while the other side of the road was blocked with barricades.
Addressing Journalists, Mr. Omuobi Abuegwu, a trailer driver who left Lagos heading to Onitsha but stuck at the middle of the protest in Benin City, said he is not even sure of when he is to leave the lock jam created as a result of the protest.
“I have been here since 9.00am since yesterday (25th October). I have not even moved an inch. The residents are protesting against the bad road. They want the government to help fix the road.
“As I speak, I have not eaten since. I coming from Lagos and I am going to Onitsha.
“My blame goes to the Edo State Government. He supposed to have provided palliatives on the road because it is now serving as a dead trap.
“All Edo State roads are bad including the byepass”, Abuegwu said.
Another driver, Mr. Thankgod Ogucha said he has been stuck in the hold up for two days now.
“I have been here for two days now. The line is not even moving at all. The government should come and fix the bad road, we are suffering, there is no money to buy food to eat”, Ogucha lamented.
A resident of the area, Prince Solomon Nnamdi, said that the governments are pushing the people of the state to their limit and which they said they cannot tolerate.
“It’s being a very long time the people are complaining. They are pushing the people to the limit. So, we are saying that the government should wake up.
“There is money in our country and there is money in the state. Edo State is an oil producing state. Apart from that, the IGR can do a lot of things in the state, reduce the suffering of the people.
“You can just sit and see things happen. The government should start somewhere at least patch the roads even if you don’t want to give us a world class roads, make it motorable so that the people can be happy.
“This road condition is affecting food prices at the market. You can see trucks parked here for days. I just saw one Hausa man sleeping under his truck, I then asked him why are you sleeping? He said they have been here for two days now, sleeping.
“You can see if such a person has food stuff which he is trying to deliver to another state and unfortunately, it becomes a perishable goods, that is the end of it.
“The government should come and help us fix the road and if the government fails to do it, the people will rise”, Nnamdi said.
One of the residents who acted as a referee as they play football on the major road, Figo Tete, vowed that they would continue to besiege the major road until the state and federal governments fix the roads.
“The leaders do not want to help fix the road, we decided to turn the road to a football pitch and after this march, I will personally go home and get my gas cylinder and prepare Indomie noodles here”, Tete said.