There are fresh concerns over the deplorable condition of the East-West Road, especially the portion between Eleme junction and Onne Port as trucks fall on cars regularly killing people, even as motorists spend several hours trying to navigate through potholes and craters.
The major road, which straddles six states in the South-South region of the country, is as appalling as the roads leading to the ports in Apapa, Lagos.
The people are worried that if the road remains the way it is, it will consume half of them within a short time.
The road has been abandoned for years by the Federal Government and while the Rivers State government rallied private companies two years ago to raise N3 billion for palliative works, the road is back to a most deplorable condition.
Reports indicate that two people were crushed to death along the road last week when a truck fell on a car that was conveying them.
The very bad stretch of the road, which extends from the popular Eleme junction to Onne, is very strategic as it serves not only as the gateway to Onne Port but also plays host to oil and gas service firms.
Some indigenes in the area told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY that considering the money that the government makes from Onne port and the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone alone and the number oil and gas industries in the free zone, it was difficult to understand why the Federal Government has abandoned the road.
A resident who identified himself as Dan said, “In the last two months, it takes me five hours to negotiate between Onne Port and Eleme junction. Before the rain started it takes you like two hours to maneuver through the traffic but now, it takes about five hours and sometimes more.”
Another resident, Kelvin said “I have tried to think of why the federal government cannot fix this road and I cannot find any other reason but politics and this is very bad. Our people are suffering and many are dying on the road.”
Youths from four local government areas in the State comprising Eleme, Gokana, Andoni and Tai, last week issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, reconstruct the collapsed section of the road or risk a complete shutdown.
The youths lamented that the present state of the road has cut off local government areas of Ogoni extraction, such as Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme, as well as Andoni and Opobo.
“This section of the road has broken down to the extent that motorists spend close to seven hours to meander through it. On this road, a journey of 20 minutes takes many hours,” they noted.
Also the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers of Nigeria (NUPENG) recently threatened to withdraw their services if the road was not fixed.
NUPENG complained that the state of the road constitutes deathtrap to its members. Industrial Relation Officer of the union, Bassey Harry said no day passed without trucks on the road.