From John Adams, Minna
Protesting Trailers, Tankers and other articulated vehicles drivers on Friday, blocked all entrance routes to Minna, the Niger state to register their displeasure over the closure of the dilapidated 82 kilometers Minna-Bida highway.
The hitherto ever busy highway was closed to heavy duty trucks by the state government to enable the contractor handling the reconstruction of the road speed up the work to meet the 18 months completion period.
The contractor, Dantata and Sowoe had attributed the slow pace of work on the 82kilometers road which contract was awarded in April this year due to the activities of the Tankers, Trailers and other articulate vehicles on the road, and this informed the decision of the state government to announced restriction on these categories of these vehicles on the road.
The government however advised the drivers to use the almost abandoned Bida-Agaie-Lapai-Lambata highway pending the completion of work on this all important road that now serves as the only alternative route linking the north and the entire southwest.
However on Friday, hell was let loose when these trucks and tankers drivers, as early as 9:00am block the Minna-Bida road, preventing movement of smaller vehicles on the road.
Hundreds of passengers, mostly traveling to southwest were stranded for several hours as the drivers remained adamant, refusing to yield to plea by concern individuals.
However, three hours later, another set of the drivers mobilized and blocked the busy Minna-Suleja highway at the Izom- Lambata bridge, stopping all travelers from coming in and out of Minna, the state capital.
As at the time of filing this reports (6:20pm), travelers were still seeing stranded at the two protesting points, while the trailers drivers have vowed not to leave the roads until their demands are met.
The drivers decried the deplorable condition of the only alternative route, the Bida-Agaie-Lapai-Lambata, saying that it is no longer motor-able.
On their parts, the stranded motorists have appealed to the state government to urgently intervene so as to reduce the sufferings of the people.
A motorist who spoke to our correspondent appealed to relevant authorities to as a matter of urgency find solution to the problem, adding that “we have spend over four hours here, i am traveling back to Minna but got stocked here since 2pm, i am hopeless here right now”.
The state government is yet to issue a statement on this development as at the time of filing this report.
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