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Commuters stranded as transporters protest in Ebonyi

By Lawrence Njoku and Nnamdi Akpa, Abakaliki
08 October 2021   |   2:59 am
Hundreds of commuters in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, were stranded, yesterday, as mass transit owners withdrew their services.

[FILES] PHOTO: Ebonyi State Goverment

Hundreds of commuters in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, were stranded, yesterday, like mass transit owners withdrew their services.

The action followed the state government’s sealing of parks used by major transport companies.

The affected companies include GUO Mass Transit; Romchi Mass Transit; Onitsha South Mass Transit; Okeyson Mass Transit; Ifesinachi Transport; and Akwa Ibom Transport Company.

The state’s Ministry of Capital City Development had, on Tuesday, sealed the parks, citing the alleged refusal of the firms to move to the new motor park designated by the government.

Some of the commuters, who spoke to our correspondents, expressed concern over the development, saying they came to embark on their journey only to find that parks in the city were not working.

Mr. Christian Igwe, a commuter, who planned to travel to Abuja, said the incident left hundreds of commuters stranded. He said many passengers in the state rely on the companies for their journey to different locations daily.

“Many of us came out this morning, as early as 6:00 a.m. to travel to our different locations. But to our surprise, we observed that all the transport companies along Afikpo Road had been sealed. We waited patiently, hoping that the issues would be resolved, but to no avail.

“Those travelling to Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country had to move to Enugu to board vehicles, and those who had appointments couldn’t meet up with them,” he said.

Another commuter, Mrs. Nwaka Ogbode, said the development destabilised her programme. “It is very painful for me to come out this morning only to find that the Onitsha South Park where I normally board a bus to Onitsha to buy goods was locked up,” she said.

When contacted, Commissioner for Capital City Development, Onyekachi Nwebonyi, said the parks were sealed because the transport companies refused to move to the central park, designated by the state government.

He said the state government, six months ago, wrote to the firms, asking them to relocate to the new park. But all efforts to do so failed.

“The intention of the state government is to reclaim the original master plan of the capital city. There is no going back on the relocation of the parks,” he said.