Keke, Okada and mini-vehicle operators along Opi-Ukehe-Okpatu-9th Mile route in Enugu State, Thursday, cried for help following the takeover of the hitherto lonely road by trucks and other heavy duty vehicles due to the dilapidation of Makurdi-9th Mile-Enugu expressway.
“Our lives are in danger,” said resident Moses Oko. He said, “Suddenly, trailers have resorted to this lonely route. It is 24 hours’ operations. This road is a single lane, and I imagine the devastation this change of route will cause us and the environment.”
Another resident, Chima Okoye, said, “All the Dangote trailers pass here; even luxury buses. This road was built over fifty years ago. It passes through over seven communities and two LGAs.
“Both state and federal governments abandoned us. But the dilapidation of the main expressway is the cause of our current problems. All articulated vehicles now ply here.”
A Keke rider said, “Our lives are in danger. These trucks cause gridlocks. Some ‘spoil’. Our lifespan is threatened by reckless drivers. They don’t care.”
Our correspodent reports that task force operatives have relocated to the route.
A driver said, “They are here collecting N5, 000 each from trucks that pass. They left the expressway immediately we stopped using there. We use here as diversion. We navigate through the express through here. The road is bad.”
A publisher, Felix Ugwuanyi, lamented the state of the road. He posted, “This is the Old Opi-Nsukka road to 9th Mile as the main express road is now unpassable and abandoned.
“It is a nightmare for communities like Ekwuegbe, Ohodo, Ukehe, Abor, etc. These big trucks are using the old road to get to 9th Mile.”
Meanwhile, some locals of the communities have imposed ‘toll’ charges, ranging from N200 to N2000 per vehicle.
According to them, “Drivers must pay the natives. They carry goods and make money along our road. We deserve some percentage”