Youths in Igbo-etche, Etche local government area of Rivers State have threatened to block the Etche-Eleme junction by end of August if the federal and state governments fail to mobilize contractors to fix the bad section of the road.
They said they believe that the only way to get the attention of the government was to shut down the road, saying kidnapping, armed robbery, car snatching and other vices occur there daily.
The threat by the Igbo-Etche youths came barely four days after their counterparts from Eleme suspended a week-long protest over the deplorable condition of the Eleme section of the East-West road in Rivers State.
Some of the Igbo-Etche told newsmen that the people have been subjected to hardship and that the road has become a death-trap for motorist and residents, as armed robbers and kidnappers operate on daily.
A resident said, “We don’t know what the Igbo-etche people do to the government. People have lost their lives on this road and armed robbers have taken over this place.
“This bad spot of the road is affecting us. If nothing is done by Rivers State Government or the government to fix this bad spot of the road, we are going to take the measure (action) that the Eleme people took.
“We are giving them between now and end of this month (August). If nothing is done, by September first week, we are going to shut down this place.
Also, another resident in the area said, “My brother was kidnapped on this very bad spot. They have been calling us to bring ransom. The step Eleme/Ogoni took was peaceful and it was nice. I think that measure can as well apply in Etche. So, we are calling on the Rivers State Government to come to our plight,” he pleaded.
Some traders and drivers also spoke on the deplorable state of the road and how it affects their business.
“We are really surprised that we are being counted among Rivers indigenes. No vehicle can cross this area and we sleep with one eye open due to kidnapping, armed robbery, raping and other things that are happening here.
“We cannot transfer our goods to oil mill (a market). Our mothers and fathers will fry garri, uproot cassava and harvest plantain, but on reaching here, armed robbers will stop them and offload everything. Some of them will be kidnapped on a daily basis,” a motorist narrated.
A trader’s tale
A female trader added,” I have been selling here for the past three years. No good road. Kidnapping, raping take place here almost every day.
“Women cannot even pass this place in the morning, talk less in the evening once it is 6pm you can’t take this road.
“Our transportation here has become something else, instead of N50, we are now paying from N100 to N300 along this road.”