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Enugu, Onitsha Road: In Oji River travellers face hell



LIFE has turned horrible for people who commute from Enugu to Anambra State. Traffic has become so bad that some workers spend three to five days on their way to work from Enugu in a journey of less than one hour.

Continuous dilapidation of the once strategic old Enugu-Onitsha Road that connects Anambra and Enugu States is increasing the untold daily hardships suffered by motorists and other road users.

Sometimes, it takes up to two days for workers and traders commuting  through the Enugu axis of the expressway from neighbouring Kogi, Benue, Ebonyi and other states leading to passing nights on the road in vehicles trapped in endless queue of traffic gridlock.

A road that one plies freely from Onitsha, across other towns gets to the border after Amansea, Awka North Local Government Area (LGA) of Anambra State and winds into terrible nightmares once the vehicle crosses the old Bailey bridge on the Ezu River between Amansea and Ugwuoba, Oji River. Traveling through Oji River L.G.A, Enugu State, is now a nightmare  marked by long columns of very deep, massive pot holes and craters, as well as ponds littering the road to break it up at every point.

Apart from creating frustrating delays to vehicular movements, this bad state of disrepair practically makes the road impassable from that point, leading tmany people to postpone their journeys for as long as possible.

Sometimes the traffic hold-ups snarl up to 400 metres into the Enugu State section from the Ezu River Bridge.

Road users blame the current state of the road and their daily predicament on the worse hit Enugu-Onitsha Expressway that has been totally abandoned by motorists following its near cut-off by floods, mudslides and weeds, owing to years of neglect.

Another ugly development created from this are accidents and other road mishaps that have become daily occurrences on that segment of the road to make the dreaded traffic hold ups look like mere child’s play.

Sunday September 8 was typical of this scourge that has become routine sight along the road when an articulated Kogi State-bound 911 Mercedes Benz lorry belonging to a haulage company fell and got trapped the muddy pot holes to disrupt free flow of traffic for several hours.

By time the owners hired the services of one Madaki Yusuf and other two young men helping him to trans load the goods into another 911 Mercedes Benz Lorry, the day had worn into the evening, while a combined effort of officers of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and Yusuf to clear the vehicle went on until Monday before the lorry was towed to their station.

Onlookers and hawkers that carry out their business around the area were full of tales as they recount similar occurrences while they call on the federal government to expedite actions towards rehabilitating the entire old Enugu-Onitsha Road as a matter of emergency.

They exonerated the driver from any fault but put the blame squarely on the state of the road which they described as near hell, though they also security network in Anambra State as having ensured that not even a single item missed from the goods that loaded the fallen lorry.

Complaining about the security risk posed to road users who stand at a spot for hours, a commercial bus driver who simply identified himself as Emma was enraged beyond words when the engine of his vehicle, which had queued in the day-long go slow, snuffed out and could not start again.

But speaking to National Light, a teenager, Miss Okolie Chiemelie, who was one of the hawkers enthused that daily gridlock on the bad road has helped her business immensely.

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