Gridlock: Commerce chamber decries multiple check points at Niger Bridge

The Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ONICCIMA), has stressed the compelling need for the Anambra State Government to urgently address the infrastructural needs of the State, particularly in Onitsha, the State commercial hub.

Addressing newsmen yesterday on the deplorable condition of infrastructure in the commercial town, the President of ONICCIMA, Chief Kevin Obieri, said the roads in the state are in urgent need of repair.

Chief Obieri mentioned such dilapidated roads to include 3-3-Nsugbe, Awka Road, New Market Road, Niger Bridge approach from Onitsha, Niger Street to Main Market, Creek Road, Ochanja Round About to Zik’s Avenue and Oguta Road among others.

He said the deplorable state of these roads has led to traffic gridlock being experienced in Onitsha for sometime now, hence the need to speed up the pace of roads rehabilitation.

The chambers also decried the illegal check points by security operatives in the name of “security concern” especially at both Asaba and Onitsha ends of the Niger Bridge.
Chief Obieri lamented that at Asaba end of the bridge in particular commutters are faced with five different sets of security checkpoints at each side of the Expressway, all a few meters apart.

He said that the unwholesome activities of these security personnel at these various check points especially in the evening and early morning hours result in unnecessary traffic gridlock on the bridge with its attendant hardship to commutters.

Chief Obieri appealed to both Governors Soludo and Ifeanyi Okowa of Anambra State and Delta State respectively to find alternative operational ways these security agents can carry out their duties without constituing both economic and social hardship to road users.
The chamber suggested immediate dismantling of all road blocks both day and night at the entrance of Niger Bridge.
They also demanded for the immediate removal or relocation of all security operatives that man various checkpoints at both ends of the bridge, saying that the activities of security personnel if they must remain should be limited to surveillance and monitoring to ensure free flow of traffic and safety of people.
The chamber also prescribed punitive measures for traffic offences as a way of reducing chaotic traffic situation and maintenance of orderliness on the roads.
The president said that Onitsha has become notorious for all sorts of traffic violations ranging from driving against traffic (one way), illegal discharging and picking up of passengers to reckless driving by commercial bus and Keke drivers.
“It is widely believed that these traffic violations persists because the majority of the law enforcement agents posted to ensure the smooth flow of traffic on our roads have been compromised,” said the ONICCIMA president.

The chamber’s president recommended the setting up of a task force that would monitor, implement and impound vehicles that flout the traffic laws of the State.
The chamber suggested punitive measures such as psychiatric evaluation, community service, impounding of vehicles and payment of fines for the offenders in addition to sensitisation of people on proper traffic rules to adhere to protect their lives and others on various radio and television stations in the state.

The Organised Private Sector (OPS) decried the negative actions of touts which has been banned by Governor Soludo himself, wondering why they are still being treated with kid gloves.

They asked the State Government to go all out and begin massive arrest of these criminals and their sponsors because according to them they were behind the type of gridlock being experienced in Onitsha in recent time.

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