By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Immediate past President-General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, and Chairman MWUN Advisory Council, Tony Nted, has called on the Federal Government to immediately begin palliative works on the failed Eleme-Onne axis of the East-West Road that leads Federal Ocean Terminal, FOT, and Federal Lighter Terminal, FLT, Onne Ports, among other critical infrastructures, to alleviate the suffering and pains of the road users.
The failed section of the road, measuring 15 kilometres with a connecting bridge is one of the busiest segments of the highway following the regular hauling of goods from the Onne seaport, the Port Harcourt Refining Company, the Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone, among others.
Recall that youths from the four Ogoni-speaking local government areas of Rivers State, on Monday, blocked the section of the road to protest the poor condition of the federal highway.
Lamenting the condition of the road in a statement, Nted who is a former Vice President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, said immediate palliative and remedial works were needed for the full reconstruction to save the situation.
According to him, “The Minister of Works should liaise with his Transport counterpart to begin immediate palliative works on failed access to the Onne Ports, Port Harcourt Refining Company, the Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone, among others.
“This will lessen the suffering of road users, especially workers, shipping companies, importers, host communities among others.
“The road is one of the busiest roads in the country as no fewer than 300 heavy-duty trucks ply it every day.
“Many innocent Nigerians have died on the road due to avoidable accidents. Several times trucks have fallen from the bridge, killing innocent citizens.
“The poor condition of the road has taken its toll on workers who on daily basis suffer fatigue and frustration thereby becoming unproductive.
“We are talking about the access road to the Ports and other critical infrastructures including Port Harcourt Refineries.
“This is exactly what happened to the ports access road in Lagos. Though construction works is ongoing on the Lagos access road, but the slow pace of works has continued to inflict pains on Nigerians.”