Travellers and motorists were stranded in Benin, Edo State on Thursday as residents of Ohovbe in the Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area protested the poor state of the Benin-Agbor-Onitsha road.
The protest which also grounded commercial activities began subtly on Wednesday but grew on Thursday as travellers and residents were forced to trek long distances to get to their destinations. Those who could not leave resigned themselves to fate with the hope that the protest would end soon.
Residents of the area were seen playing football on the major road while the other side of the road was blocked with barricades.
A trailer driver, Mr. Omuobi Abuegwu, who left Lagos for Onitsha but was stuck at the middle of the protest in Benin, said he was not even sure of when he would leave the area.
He said, “I have been here since 9am on Wednesday. I have not even moved an inch. The residents are protesting against the bad road. They want the government to fix the road. I have not eaten since I got stuck here and I don’t even know when I will get to Onitsha.
“I blame the Edo State Government. It should have done palliative work on the section that has become a death trap. All Edo State roads are bad including the bypass”, Abuegwu said.
Another driver, Thankgod Ogucha, said he had been stuck in the hold-up for two days.
“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 government was pushing the people of the state to their limit, which they could no longer tolerate.
He said, “The people have been complaining about the bad state of the road for a long time. 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 to reduce the suffering of the people.
“You can just sit and see things get worse. The government should start somewhere at least patch the roads even if you don’t want to give us a world-class road, make it motorable so that the people can be happy.
“This bad road is affecting food prices in 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 had been here for two days now, sleeping.
“You can see if such a person had foodstuff which he is trying to deliver to another state and they are perishable goods, that will be the end of those goods,” he said.