Commuters making use of the Onitsha-Owerri Road, in Anambra on Thursday battled gridlock, bad condition of the road and extortion in navigating to their various destinations.

The early morning rainfall compounded the woes for road users as it made motoring and movement almost impossible.

Our correspondent observed that from the Metallurgical section through to the Amanator axis and off to Upper-Iweka, near the River Niger Bridge Head have become a write-off and a serious challenge for motorists.

Refuse, potholes and flood have taken over the full lane at the Amanator axis, a situation that caused all Upper-Iweka bound traffic to join the Owerri-bound section in order to proceed to their destination.

This development caused a standstill and blockade on the road as both Upper-Iweka bound vehicles and Owerri-bound vehicles faced themselves.

To compound motorists’ weos, there was no presence of any traffic official around the area as some touts were seen “controlling” traffic and using the opportunity to extort motorists.

As a result of the gridlock, pedestrians were seen walking on the refuse by the roadside to their various destinations.

At the Enamel axis, motorists also had it rough as a result of military checkpoints.

The situation was also the same at both ends of the Upper-Iweka junction, near the River Niger Bridge, as a fallen down 40ft-container was being moved away by a crane.

The busy Onitsha-Owerri Road, is a federal road that connects commuters from the River Niger Bridge to other parts of Anambra and South-East states, including some parts of the south-south.

According to a bus driver, who identified himself as Chima, commuters had been battling the poor condition for over the years as every pleas for a palliative measure have fallen on deaf ears.

Also speaking, the Chairman, Great Tippers Association of Nigeria, Anambra State Chapter, Nze Chukwuemeka Olekpe, lamented that trucks fall on the road almost on a daily basis.

Olekpe pointed out that over 12 people, including members of the association, had lost their lives, while many others were injured recently as a result of indiscriminate fallen trucks on the road.

Olekpe said, “This road has become a nightmare for us. Our vehicles fall on this road on a daily basis. As I speak to you now, we have lost over six persons in recent times as a result of fallen tankers.

“Last week alone, two of our lorries fell at the Aba Park because there is no coordination at that section. We have been begging government to, at least, offer palliative measures on this road and our pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

“Trucks fall on this road on a daily basis and anyone that happened to be unfortunate at that moment, it falls on the person, it is so unfortunate what we are passing through on that road right now.

“Over the years, this road has become unmotorable right from the Upper Iweka axis to the Metallurgical section, it has become a death trap, now with the rains. Criminal activities have also been heightened. Travelling on that road has become a nightmare for us and we are calling on those concerned to look into our plight.”

A personnel from the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, Anambra State, who did not want her name mentioned, said every efforts by the agency to offer palliative measures on the road in the past had always been frustrated by hoodlums in the area.

“Just before the rainy season commenced, two trucks of gravel were poured at the Upper Iweka junction to be used in filling the potholes, but those touts did not allow the job to be effectively carried out,” she added.

Efforts to speak with the state Commissioner for Transportation, Patricia Igwebuike, proved abortive as calls made to her telephone line were not responded to.

By Tochi

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