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Passengers, motorists stranded as Asaba-Onitsha Expressway caves in

Hundreds of passengers and motorists were left stranded yesterday on the Asaba-Onitsha Expressway because of the failed portion of the road at Okpanam junction. Travellers from Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti, Osun and Oyo states going to the east as well as those coming in the opposite direction were affected. Over 200 trucks and oil tankers were at a standstill between Summit Junction in Asaba to Asaba-Ogwashi junction.

Drivers were forced to make a detour, thereby negotiating the old Lagos road of Ubulu-Uku through Ogwashi-Uku towns to Koko Junction in Asaba to access Onitsha, Anambra State. The Okpanam junction has been affected by flooding but government has neglected it. Recently, the Delta State Government embarked on a storm drainage system to check the yearly flooding.

A nursing mother, who simply identified herself as ‘Mama Nkechi’, lamented that collapsed federal roads have crippled vehicular movement across the country. A truck driver, John-Paul, said he had been on a spot for five hours. He said: “I switched off the engine of my truck over five hours ago. Since then, I had not moved an inch.

The failed portion of the road at Okpanam junction triggered traffic jam since rain fell yesterday. It is a pity that for over six years, that junction has been the subject of controversy. But we learnt that the Delta State Government has embarked on a palliative measure to salvage the situation.” The Federal Road Emergency Maintenance Agency (FERMA) in the state declined to comment when contacted on the subject matter. Asenior officer, whospoke on condition of anonymity, said: “We lack the power to embark on a road maintenance that has not been approved for urgent attention.”

 

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