Travellers and motorists found themselves stranded in Benin, Edo State, on Thursday due to protests by residents of Ohovbe in the Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area. They were expressing their dissatisfaction with the deplorable state of the Benin-Agbor-Onitsha road.
The protests began subtly on Wednesday but escalated on Thursday, disrupting both travel and commerce.
Some individuals resorted to long treks to reach their destinations, while others remained, hoping for a swift resolution.
The road was partially blocked with barricades, and residents even played football on the major road.
One stranded trailer driver, Omuobi Abuegwu, said that he had been stuck since Wednesday morning, expressing frustration and blaming the Edo State Government for not addressing the road’s dire condition.
He said, “I have been here since 9 a.m. 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, who expressed his frustration said that 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.
Prince Solomon Nnamdi, a concerned resident of the area, who lambasted the government for its poor handling of the road issue, asserting that they were pushing the people of the state to their breaking point. He complained bitterly about the road’s deplorable condition and called upon the government to take action.
Nnamdi stated, “The people have been complaining about the bad state of the road for a long time. They are pushing 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.”
He urged the government to address the road issue, even if it meant making it only partially motorable, as a way to alleviate the people’s suffering. Nnamdi highlighted the adverse impact of the bad road on food prices and the livelihoods of those transporting perishable goods, illustrating the urgency of resolving the road’s condition.
In his words, “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 has foodstuffs that he is trying to deliver to another state and they are perishable goods, that will be the end of those goods.”