From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Articulated vehicle drivers on Thursday blocked the Aba axis of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway in protest against the dilapidated condition of the highway and alleged extortion by security personnel at checkpoints along the Abia stretch of the expressway.
Drivers of trailers, tankers, tippers and other articulated vehicles used their trucks as early as 2 am to block the expressway from the Ariaria Junction to Flyover (Alaoji), Aba, causing serious gridlock and untold hardship to commuters.
It was gathered that as of 9 am, the gridlock caused by the action of the protesting drivers, had stretched from Flyover to Obehie, a distance of over 25 kilometres; and also stretched further beyond Osisioma, towards the Enugu end of the expressway.
One of the protesting drivers who spoke to our correspondent on phone and gave his name as Ikechukwu said they were protesting against the deplorable condition of the expressway, which he said apart from destroying their vehicles, has killed many of their members.
Ikechukwu said outside the dilapidated nature of the Expressway, they were protesting against the extortion by the military and other security agents on the highway.
“We are equally protesting the extortion by mostly the military along the Abia section of the expressway. Immediately it is 12 midnight, there is no military checkpoint among the nine from Lokpanta to the Flyover in Alaoji, you will not be forced to pay N1,000; as they claim there is a curfew in Abia”.
The driver said his members resolved not to leave the expressway until they were addressed by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.
Information has it that the protest has made it difficult for vehicles to enter Aba from Port Harcourt as the vehicles are said to be stuck on the highway.
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