• Tony Igele

Motorists appeal to FG to repair Benin/Auchi Highway

Motorists plying the Benin/Auchi Highway on Monday appealed to the Federal Government to urgently repair the Ehor/Ekpoma section of the road.

The motorists said the plea became necessary due to the deplorable state of the section of the highway.

The motorists told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that they had been undergoing untold hardship from the bad portion of the road.

They noted that driving within the section had become terrible following the start of the rainy season.

They said this had increased the travel-time from Benin to Auchi that usually lasted between two hours and two hours and thirty minutes to four hours now.

The motorists said this was because they had to find an alternative route inside Ekpoma main town, which was fairly better than the highway.

A motorist, Omo Isaac said, “This has been our predicament since the rainy season started.

“We wasted so much time trying to navigate the route to get to our destinations.

“As I speak with you, the Ekpoma section of the highway is impassable.

“What we do is to pass through another road in Ekpoma town, which is also not in good condition but at least manageable,’’ Isaac said.

Another motorist, Mr Sunday Amune, decried several articulated vehicles which had broken down on the Ekpoma section of the highway, due to its bad state.

He said that this had rendered the road impassable for other motorists.

“Some of my colleagues, who got trapped in the traffic following the rain that fell over the weekend, spent almost the whole day there.

“As I speak with you, we do not use the highway again. We navigate through Ekpoma main town to come out around Irrua axis.

“It is really a terrible experience that one is not proud of.

“`The most annoying thing is that we suffered a similar thing last year,’’ Amune said.

Similarly, Mr Dominic Osayi, said that several motorists had to pass through a longer route of Irruekpen/Afuze to get to Auchi last year.

Osayi said that the route would be very bad now as the section of the road had also failed.

He appealed to the government to ameliorate the suffering of motorists as the time wasted had affected their income generation.

It had also made them to be taking their vehicles to their mechanics for repairs frequently, he said.

A commuter on the route, who simply identified himself as Raheem, appealed to the authorities to urgently repair the road.

He said the burden of traffic bottleneck was always shifted to commuters by way of increase in transport fares.

“It will not surprise you that some motorists have already increased the fares they charge commuters.

“Benin to Auchi that usually costs between N700 and N800 is now N1,000; no thanks to the current deplorable state of the highway,” he said.

Meanwhile, the South-South Controller of the Federal Ministry of Works, Mr Charles Okonmah, said the government was aware of the poor state of the road.

He said that a contractor had been contacted to carry out repairs on the road; the contractor was not able to move to site because of the delay in passing the budget.

“We are quite aware of the situation of that axis of the road.

“The ministry has contacted the contractor, Dantata and Sawoe, to fix that portion of the road.

“But of course, the contractor has not been able to carry out the job because they are being owed.

“However, I am sure they will be able to do now that the budget has been signed into law.

“We regret the inconveniences the bad portion of the highway have been causing motorists plying it , we assure them that fixing it is a top priority to us,’’ Okonmah said.

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