Motorists enroute to Niger state , from western and eastern parts of Nigeria cries out over rot of food items worth millions as roads were reportedly blocked by trailer drivers.
Trailer drivers blocked all the entry and exit points into Minna, the state capital, in a protest that entered Day Three on Sunday.
The protest had started on Friday in Bida and it continued on Saturday when the protesters blocked the road at Lambata.
The roadblock worsened on Sunday when the trailer drivers blocked farmlands and communities, apparently to ensure that no vehicle would enter or leave the state.
It led to the loss of perishable goods worth millions of naira.
The drivers urged the Niger State government to reopen the Bida-Minna road, saying they would not suspend their protest until the road is opened.
They regretted that the state government had blocked the Minna-Bida road in the past six months, making them to take the Bida-Lapai- Lambata road, which the drivers said had become a nightmare.
This happened as the government said it got approval of $86.64 million loan from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) for the construction and upgrading of the 82-kilometre Minna-Bida road currently being handled by Dantata and Sawoe Company.
The roads into Bida which have been blocked include the Gbazhi area before Emirs palace; Esso, Siriku junction; Bida-Kontagora junction in Mokwa alongside some street routes.
Even the residents have been overwhelmed by a surge in traffic around their area and resorted to blocking some alternative routes.
Stranded motorists decried their inability to meet up with some commitments due to the blockages on both sides.
Also, the Niger State government has said opening up the Minna-Bida road was not an option because of the huge amount of money spent on its repair.
A statement by Information and Strategy Commissioner Muhammad Sani Idris said the plying of heavy-duty vehicles on the road would damage the sections that had been repaired.
The commissioner said the trailer drivers cannot hold the government to ransom by demanding the opening of the road.
“The Governor Abu Sani Bello administration is determined that the road construction must go on and, as such, opening the Minna-Bida road to heavy-duty vehicles is not an option for now, for that would destroy everything the government has done and taxpayers’ money would be wasted redoing what was already done,” the statement said.
Nwachineke Ijeoma Njoku reporting, Obinwannem News writer / Sept 27, 2021