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Edo youths, motorists protest deplorable condition of Benin-Sapele Highway

By Michael Egbejule, Benin City
02 August 2022   |   2:52 am
Motorists and residents, particularly youths, yesterday, barricaded the ever-busy Benin-Sapele Highway and adjoining streets, following the inability of the Federal Government to fix its failed portions

The deplorable Benin-Sapele highway PHOTO: MICHAEL EGBEJULE

Motorists and residents, particularly youths, yesterday, barricaded the ever-busy Benin-Sapele Highway and adjoining streets, following the inability of the Federal Government to fix its failed portions.

The protesters and other aggrieved groups, under the aegis of Freedom Ambassadors Organisations in conjunction with Sarbag/Sapele Road residents, who embarked on a peaceful protest, left motorists plying the route stranded for several hours.
Lamenting the deplorable condition of the trunk-A road over the years, the protesters mounted canopies and chairs on the road, a move that indicated they were ready to remain there for as long as the government is adamant to take action on the road.
They warned residents in the state not to contemplate travelling Benin-Sapele road during the peaceful protest.
Addressing newsmen, Mr. Daniel Omorogbe, Chairman, Sarbag/Sapele road axis, said the blocking of the major road and its adjoining streets has become necessary, following a series of avoidable deaths and unquantifiable man hours commuters expend on the road while trying to get to their respective destinations.
He said when the road got bad previously, they went on a peaceful protest, which drew the attention of the Edo State government to commence work on it, only for the Federal Government to allegedly stop the state government from carrying out palliative works on the road, claiming that it is a Federal Government road.
“Last year, we protested and the state governor came and made his promise that within 24 hours, he was going to mobilise contractors to come and work on the road, really, he did.
“He came with Hartland and Levant contractors and after the first day of their working, the Federal Government sent their troops. I was there and nobody told me about it. They asked the contractors to stop the work. He was told the road belongs to the Federal Government and not to the state.

 “Ever since, they have not been working. So, we sent another letter to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in Abuja and they replied to us.
“They said the road has been awarded to Levant Construction Company. When I went to Levant, the contractor said they didn’t award the road to them.
“I sent another letter to the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, saying we want to have Sarbag meeting with him, but they didn’t allow us to see him,” he said.
Omorogbe added that the residents of the environs have taken it upon themselves to reduce the incidence of deaths on Benin-Sapele road and also put an end to the nightmare their children face when going or returning from school.

“For us, our children, cannot access their places on time. When our children are going to school through the failed portion, we get scared. It’s really a problem. Like the tanker that fell last two weeks there.  If it had happened in the afternoon, it would have been a disaster, but the luck we had was that it happened at night.
“ So we feel the pain of our brothers who lost their lives on this road. The person that died there the other time, his marriage should have been done last Friday, he is our brother.
“Last year, a similar thing happened, somebody died under the bridge. So, the property that had been destroyed is unquantifiable.
“We cannot just fold our hands, we are all taxpayers, let the Federal Government come and fix the road, we are not begging Fashola to give us money, let him come and work for us.
“We are not leaving here any moment. If they come with their machine now, we will leave the road. If they come next month with their machine, we will leave the road, if it extends to Friday, the Muslim will say their prayers here and if it extends to Sunday, we will do our service here,” he said.