By Phil Okose, Onitsha
A civil society organization, Civil Liberties Organization, CLO, and residents of Onitsha have blamed the Federal Government for the constant fall of articulated vehicles on the ever busy Onitsha-Owerri road, Onitsha, Anambra state.
The organisation and residents attributed the incidence to Federal Government’s neglect of the dilapidated portion of the road from Upper Iweka to Metallurgical Training Institute, Onitsha.
State Chairman of CLO, Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme, while reacting to the recent fall of a 40-foot tanker laden with kerosene at Obodoukwu/Ezeiweka road, along the said road in Onitsha urged the Federal Government to declare state of emergency on the road.
In a statement signed with his secretary, Comrade Chidi Mba, which was made available to newsmen in Onitsha, CLO reiterated that the’ 33’/ Otuocha road, Nnewi/Uga/ Akokwa road, among other South East roads needed urgent attention.
“It is very painful and despicable that human and material resources are lost on daily basis at the bad portion of Onitsha/Owerri road,Onitsha due to the poor state of the road. Due to the pitiable condition of the road, articulated vehicles incessantly fall and cause horrendous and horrible accident on the road. Nigerians have lost tremendous lives and properties, time and resourses. The essence of government is for protection of lives and property of people and their social well-being.
“Federal Government should declare state of emergency on that road and proffer immediate solution to the teething problem because it is not only a death-trap but life-threatening nightmare and it is detestable”.
“Fashola should interfere by directing Federal Road Maintenance Agency to commence with uttermost urgency and immediacy, palliative work on the road to avoid recording more deaths. A journey of two hours now takes six hours due to the dilapidated condition of the road and the victims are the Southeasterners.”
Also reacting, an Onitsha-based businessman, Sunday Okwuluchi, accused the Federal Government of marginalising Igbo nation.
In his reaction, a commercial bus driver who simply identified himself as Komo, stated: “We now abandon the road and drive through Ezeiweka to inside Obosi and pass through slaughter house to get to the express. There is no day that passes without one or two articulated vehicles falling. Recently, a woman was crushed to death when a tanker fell at the bad spot. God intervened in the latest tanker fall as its content, kerosene, did not ignite fire when it fell.”
According to the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Onitsha Unit Commander, Mr Isaac O. Komolafe, who was handy when the incident occurred: “No lives were lost. We got there on time and barricaded the place.”
Also, the commandant, Fire Service Commission, Obodoukwu Road, Okpoko, Mr. Chukwudi Chiketa revealed that the incident happened by 8.48am, adding that his men rushed to the scene on time.
Security operatives were seen controlling movement of vehicles even as some people were busy scooping the kerosene that gushed out from the tanker as it fell.