‘We prefer to take longer routes’
Travellers groan over dilapidated portions of Benin-Auchi-Lokoja Road
MOTORISTS on the Benin-Auchi-Lokoja Road have been passing through harrowing experiences because of a bad portion in Okueka village at kilometre 15 part of the road from Benin City as many spend unending hours while others have resorted to using alternative routes, which are usually longer.
In the past one week, motorists plying Benin/Ekpoma axis of the road, a journey of less than two hours, have had to spend more than eight hours to get to Ekpoma, Esan West Local Council of Edo because of the time wasted at the bad spot, where vehicles have to take their turns, one after the other, to navigate the deep gullies that have been formed, with some getting stuck in the process.
Some motorists have had to resort to the use of longer routes such as the Benin-Agbor-Asaba Highway and Benin-Sobe-Ifon to get to their destinations.
According to some of the motorists, they prefer these alternative routes even though they are longer routes. One of such motorists, who identified himself as Ororo, said to get to Sabongidda-Ora in Owan West Local Council of the state, he now uses the Benin-Sobe route.
We are not finding it funny at all, I had to switch to this route because a journey from Benin to Sabongidda, which takes less than two hours on the Benin/Auchi highway was taking over 10 hours. “Even though it is not our normal route, I still prefer using the Sobe route, which takes slightly less than four hours to get to Sabongidda-Ora.” “I sympathise with those passengers who have had to spend another transport fare to get to villages such as Ozalla and Uhonmora, he said.”
Similarly, those plying Auchi, Ekpoma and Uromi have resorted to using Agbor Road to get to these destinations. Andrew Ojeiwe who described the experience at the bad portion as a nightmare to motorists and commuters alike, said the suffering becomes even more unbearable whenever it rains. “There was a day I almost spent a whole full day there.
It was that bad because there was no vehicle coming or going on the opposite directions. We were all stuck on a spot and we all had to switch off our engines,” he explained.
Another motorist, John Omoruyi, said that if things continue like this within the next few days, the road might collapse completely. “I tell you, if it rains between now and tomorrow, then the route will be a no go area for motorists,” he stated.
I spent one hour 45 minutes here last Thursday and I had to reschedule my journey till the following day and when I got here, I still spent another 45 minutes even though I left Benin early enough. Government has to do something fast about this,” a driver, who simply identified himself as Aliu, said.
The deterioration of the part of the road and many others that have suddenly appeared around Aduwawa axis and Ekopma sections of the road is traced to the suspension of work on the road by the contractors who were handling various sections of the road shortly before the March and April 2015 general elections. The contractors suspended work and later disappeared from most parts of the road.
When contacted on phone, the state controller of the Ministry of Works, Denis Orji, said the ministry was aware of the challenges being faced by motorists as a result of the bad portion on that route.
He said the ministry was making concerted efforts to addressing the problem. “What is happening there is unfortunate. We are, however, working to see that the problem is solved.
I have just held a meeting with the RCC, the contractor working on the Section 4 of the highway and I am aware that the company has already sent its men there to ascertain the problem and see the kind of palliative measure to adopt.” “I will still meet with the contractor as soon as possible to see what solution the company has to offer.
But I can assure you that in the next two days, palliative work on the bad portion would commence,” he said.