Truck Drivers Block Onitsha Bridge – Commuters Stranded

Alphonsus Nweze

Commuters and drivers using Onitsha Bridge had hectic day Friday as movement to and from Onitsha and Asaba were stalled following the blocking of the bridge by some people said to be truck drivers.

Workers and traders who were heading to Onitsha for their work and business activities were stranded as the traffic gridlock stretched to Oko market, a sub-urb near Asaba.

Some bus drivers had to ply one way to maneuver their way up to toll gate, leaving their passengers to trek from there to Onitsha.

Keke and Okada drivers however had a field day making brisk businesses as they conveyed stranded passengers to either side but increased their fare by 100 to 200 percent.

It was not clear why the truck drivers blocked the bridge but a driver who did not want his name on the print said exorbitant levies by agents of Anambra State Government and activities of hitherto banned touts forced them to react for government to know their plight.
He said apart from N20, 000.00 they pay at the point of loading and offloading, some touts started accosting them at Bridgehead to pay N10, 000.
“We don’t know what N10, 000 is for. The Governor has banned tout, why did they bring them to Bridgehead to extort money from us again? We don’t know them and we don’t know what we are paying for,” said one of the drivers.

When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Chris Aburime, said, “nobody has any right to block public road where people pass to carry out their daily and routine activities.
He said the aggrieved drivers should clear from the road for unrestricted access of commuters and motorists, then government will look into their grievances.”

There have been complaints from a cross section of Anambrarians about astronomical hike of taxes and levies by the State Government as well as the high handedness.

Consequently, the operators of Keke and buses have at different times embarked on protest recently to drive home their points either in Awka or in Onitsha on the excessive taxation by the State Government.

In all, the centre seem not to be holding as the policies of Governor Soludo stands at variance with the economic realities at hand and care less about the fact that the masses are going through hard times.i

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