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Commuters, residents protest over deplorable Edo highway

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There was gridlock at the RCC end of the Benin-Sapele highway in Benin City, yesterday, as commuters and residents disrupted traffic flow in a bid to draw government’s attention to the deplorable state of the infrastructure.

The protesters said the portion had been abandoned by both the federal and state governments for years.

They regretted that several petitions in this respect had not got positive response.

Speaking to journalists, a resident, who identified himself as chairman of Sapele Road bypass axis, Daniel Omorogbe, lamented: “Some of our children can no longer go to school. Our cars are bad. We are finding it difficult to use this road, and it connects the Niger Delta and other parts of the country.

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“Trucks coming from the North to the Niger Delta also pass through this route.”

He continued: “Three months ago, we wrote to the Senate, House of Representatives, the (Federal) Ministry of Works, State House of Assembly and even the governor, still nothing has been done.

“We are going to stay here until government listens to us. We are going to remain here till they answer us. They come with labourers, using head pans and wheelbarrows to work. Once it rains, the whole place gets collapsed and flooded.”

Also speaking, a road user, Gbenga Salami, complained: “We now spend hours to transverse the bad spot. From the bypass to Ring Road used to be N150, now we spend up to N500 because of the state of the road, especially when it rains. They were rushing a woman to the hospital for delivery the other day, but because of the bad road and traffic, she delivered here. It was a Good Samaritan that now rushed her to a nearby hospital. What if that Good Samaritan was not there?”

Another resident and road user, Mrs. Sandra Otaigbe, said: “We want to make it known to the federal and state governments that functional social amenities are not a privilege but a right. If it rains, people are stranded. You see little children trekking with their lunch bags after school because of the bad situation when it rains.”

The Federal Controller of Works and Housing in Edo State, Razaq Aransiola, declined comments when contacted.

He promised to call back. A pledge he never kept at press time.

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