By Ebele Orakpo

So na here this hold-up start today?” commented a passenger by name, Sam, in the Lagos-bound commercial vehicle as the driver veered off the tarred portion of the road for the untarred portion just to beat the hold-up, whipping up dust clouds in the process and attracting curses from other road users.

Continued Sam, “Yesterday, it was at Ogbemudia Farm area, the other day, it was at Ore and now, just after Benin? Ha! There’s so much suffering in this country o!”

“But tell me, what is really causing this hold-up?” asked Iyke.

“Absolutely nothing! Don’t be surprised that when you get to the end of the road, you will see nothing,” replied Kenny.

“How can you say nothing is causing the hold-up? Something must be causing it. There is no smoke without fire,” said Iyke.

File photo: Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

Born again student

“I totally disagree with you sir. There can be smoke without fire,” said Japh.

“Please, expatiate,” requested Ify.

Replied Japh; “During the cold season, especially early in the morning, if you yawn, you will see smoke coming from your mouth. So there can be smoke without fire.”

Narrated Mercy; “Reminds me of something that happened some years ago. A born again student saw smoke coming from his friend’s mouth and without verifying, he ran straight to the Fellowship president and reported that Brother A was smoking.

The president was shocked and sent for Brother. A. When he came, he asked him point blank when he started smoking, you can imagine the confusion on A’s face. Where was this story coming from? Of course he denied it and the president told him that his friend caught him red-handed and came to report him so they could caution him and save his soul.

“At this point, the friend was asked if he actually saw him with a cigarette and he said no, but he saw smoke coming from his mouth.”

This caused ripples of laughter in the bus.

“Well, back to what we were saying, I learnt that these people who hawk their wares in traffic actually pay truck drivers to partially block the road, pretending that the vehicle broke down and undergoing repairs. Before you know what is happening, traffic builds up and they start selling their wares. At this point, the truck driver, having fulfilled his part of the contract, drives off and as you know, it takes time for the hold-up to clear,” stated Ify.

“That’s callous!” commented Kenny.

“People are always looking for ways to make money. Any means, whether foul or fair, does not bother them. All they want is money,” said Japh.

“I heard that sometimes these unscrupulous elements contribute money to buy raw acid which they pour on roads and once a heavy vehicle runs on it, it creates a deep hole, causing hold-up,” said Nkechi.

“Yes, I’ve heard that before and sometimes they use hammer and chisel to do the job,” said Ify, “but the acid version is easier. That hammer and chisel version na serious work.”

“I think the authorities should set up monitoring teams to be monitoring activities on our roads,” advised Sam. “I like what Gov. Peter Obi is doing in Anambra State. After construction a road, he hands it over to the community so they can look after it as their property.”


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