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TRAFFIC GRIDLOCK: Onitsha Chamber of Commerce demands Dismantling of Road Blocks at Niger Bridge



By Julie Sylvia

Irked by the incessant traffic grid-lock being experienced in Onitsha and environ on daily basis, the Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ONICCIMA) has called for immediate dismantling of security road blocks at both ends of the River Niger Bridge approach.

Making the demand in a press briefing held at the ONICCIMA Secretariat, GRA Onitsha, the President, Chief Kevin U. Obieri, stated that the military, police and other security road blocks mounted within the Niger Bridge approach at Onitsha and Asaba, Delta State capital, were responsible for the heavy traffic gridlock experienced on daily basis.

According to him,he said that some law enforcement agents under the guise of “Security concern”set up road blocks at Onitsha end of the Niger bridge, and some bad sections of the road coupled with the Asaba end of the Bridge, where commuters are faced with five different sets of security check points,all a few metres apart”

“Unfortunately the activities of these security personnel at these various check points (especially in the evening and early hours of the morning) result in unnecessary traffic grid-lock with the attendant hardship to commuters”

”While the Chamber appreciates the security situation, we appeal to the Anambra State Government to work in partnership with its Delta State counter part to find alternative operational ways these security personnel can carry out their legitimate duties without causing further hardship to the people”

“Except the State/local voluntary traffic controllers, all security agents that man the various check points at both ends of the Niger Bridge should be removed or relocated”

”Activities of the security personnel (if they must remain) should be limited to surveillance and monitoring to ensure free flow of traffic and safety.”

The ONICCIMA boss lamented that Onitsha has become notorious for all traffic violations ranging from driving against the traffic (one way) illegal discharge of passengers to picking up passengers and reckless driving by both buses and tricycle (Keke ) operators.

“It is widely believed that these traffic violations persist because the majority of the law enforcement agents posted to ensure the smooth flow of traffic on our roads have been compromised”

He urged the State Government to set up a taskforce that would monitor, implement and impound vehicles that flout traffic laws even as he stressed the need to fix the 33″ Nsugbe, New market, Old market, Niger Bridge approach, and Awka roads to also curtail the traffic build up.

In touting,he said that they he government cannot continue to treat the presence of these destabilizers of the economy of the state with kid cloves.

”The chamber appeals to the government to go all out in apprehending these criminals and deals with whomever their sponsors might be,stressed that the demonstration by tipper drivers who blocked the upper Iweka axis in protest to the emergence of touts and miscreants,thereby caused a heavy gridlock.

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