Stranded travellers on Lokoja highway cry for help

Travelers trapped and stranded on both sides of the River Niger Bridge in Lokoja, Kogi, are crying for help from the authorities to reopen the Highways blocked by aggrieved Tanker drivers.

The tanker drivers have since 10.00 p.m. of Monday blocked the Abuja-Lokoja-Lagos highway following an alleged killing of one of their members by security operatives at a military checkpoint after the Murtala Mohamed Bridge, Jamata, Kogi.

“We are trapped and stranded here, unable to move forward nor backward because of the blockade of the road by some so-called aggrieved tanker drivers, ” Mr John Dare, a bus passenger told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday.

“Can you believe that we have been trapped here in Lokoja since Moday night, when we got here, all the way from Lagos?

“If one of the tanker drivers is killed as they claimed, is that how to seek justice by doing injustice to other people like us?

“To me this is unfair and the government, especially the security agents, must do something drastic to reopen this road for us to move on to our respective destinations, ” Dare lamented.

Another traveller, Ms Jumai Audu, said she was lost of how to describe the horror she found herself in.

“I can’t just imagine what is happening to me now. I have spent over 10 hours here stranded, not knowing what to do.

“We are so tired and hungry with no food at sight to even buy and eat. What kind of a society are we in nowadays?” She asked.

Mr Ibrahim Bala, a Hummer driver,  said “this has always been the attitude of both tankers and truck drivers across Nigeria”. 

” Until the Federal Government takes decisive actions against this, it will continue unabated, ” Bala stated.

He described the situation as “very painful and unfortunate”, considering the number of hours the aggrieved drivers had held travellers hostage on the highway.

NAN reports that in spite of  Gov Yahaya Bello ‘s directive that the blockade be cleared, the tanker drivers remained adamant.

Trouble allegedly started on Monday evening, when the security operatives asked the tanker driver to stop at a military checkpoint  but he refused and was chased.

The driver was said to have stopped his vehicle on noticing that he was being chased, attempted to run into the bush, but fell into a ditch and was seriously injured.

Although he was quickly rushed to hospital for medical attention, he couldn’t survive the injury and later died.

At the time of filing this report, negotiations were ongoing by the authorities and the drivers, with a  view to reopening the road. 

The State FRSC Sector Commander, Mr Steve Dawulung, said efforts were being made to ensure truce was brokered with the drivers, to reopen the road for traffic flow.