By SUNDAY ABBA, Abuja
Road users were on Saturday stranded in a standstill traffic on the Mararaba – Masaka corridor along the Abuja-Keffi Expressway.
SUMMIT Post Correspondent was at the scene and learnt that the nightmare being experienced by motorists was a fallout of blockades mounted at two points of the road there by some men, believed to be working for the Federal Road Maintenance Agency ( FERMA), who were fixing thkkpe worn-out joints of the bridges at those locations.
The traffic logjam which peaked at about late afternoon made many Nigerians who were plying the road by commercial cars to disembark and resort to trekking from Mararaba to Masaka and beyond, and vice- versa as both sides of the dual carriageway were completely blocked. Most of the motorists who were locked in condemned the move and while blaming the government for their plight, described it as ill-timed.
Speaking angrily, a motorist who gave his name as Mohammed said anybody in his right senses would not approve that the repairs be done at midnight with floodlight.
“Of course no human being in his right senses will buy this kind of idea. I’ve been here three hours already and I don’t even know when I will eventually make it to where I am going to. I want to go and see my parents. I don’t know how long it will take me now to get down; probably, all through the night I might still be here the way I am seeing it.
“I think this kind of work is better done at midnight under floodlight to avoid causing this kind of suffering and pains for people,” he said.
Also, one Ibrahim Mohammed, a Kogi-born driver resident in the Masaka area, condemned the timing of the project, suggesting that before doing that, a temporary bypass should have been created.
“Oga, this kind of thing they are not suppose to do it in day time like this; it suppose to be at night when traffic would be very light. You can see with your eyes, how people are suffering here now. Although they are doing the right thing, but if this kind of thing is to be done in day time like this, then a bypass should have been arranged,” he said.
On his part, Solomon, a driver also caught in the gridlock said, “What they have done here is bad; we don’t deserve this kind of punishment from the government. This is like deliberately frustrating the efforts of the masses. Imagine that somebody with an emergency case, like a woman in labour, she would have gotten stuck here and anything could have happened. My advice to government on this is that whenever there is need to carry out road repairs like this, they should use floodlight and do it at midnight, between 12 a.m and 2 a.m, because this is a major road.”
One of the engineers who did not give his name however explained that what they were doing was in the best interest of the public as it is to prevent the bridges along that corridor whose joints have worn out from collapse, and as if to add salt to injury, he said the road would not even be opened immediately after the repair untill after about four weeks when it would have dried enough.
Up till 5 PM, there was no hope in sight for the people, and to make the matter worse, the workmen and the security operatives guarding them were said to have disappeared towards the evening, leaving the blockades there.
On Friday, the same scenario happened along the same Abuja – Keffi Highway whereby commuters returning to their homes after the day’s business and other road users got stranded in the gridlock caused by repairs being carried out from the Mogadishu Cantonment end of the road, to the extent that many trekked from AYA in Asokoro to Nyanya and Mararaba.
All this goes to underscore the fact that the traffic volume along that corridor on a daily basis is overwhelmingly high, higher than any other entry/exit points of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and as such more need to done to assuage the plight motorists on that road.
It is rather very unfortunate that the expansion project being completed on that road was stopped at Nyanya instead of Masaka as earlier planned.