By Peter Duru, Makurdi
Irked by the sorry state of the Oju-Otukpo Federal Highway, the Igede speaking people of Benue state, Friday, staged a peaceful protest in the area to draw the attention of the authorities to their plight.
The angry protesters made of market women, youths, members of the civil society and others, took over the failed road bearing placards some of which read, “Igede people are also Nigerians”, “Oju-Otukpo road is a death trap”, “Democracy has failed us”, “they use us for elections and abandon us,” among others.
One of the Conveners of the protest, Fidelia Ogah who could not hold back tears as she addressed the crowd said “we are here to pass a message to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari and all our leaders to treat us the Igede people as Nigerians and not as people from another planet.
“There is no motorable road in Igede land. Our farmers cannot move their yield to the city because of lack of access road. We have been left behind in terms of development because there is no access road in Igede land.
“And because of the lack of roads, we have become easy targets for armed herdsmen amd bandits who attack our communities at will.
“That is why we are appealing to the Federal Government to come and fix the Otukpo-Oju road because it has become a death trap and our lives have become miserable because that very important road has failed completely and it has become impassable.”
On his part, the President of Igede Youths Council, Andyson Egbodo stated that they recently saw on television the lawmaker representing Benue South District, Senator Abba Moro lamenting in the Senate about the state of the road and how money was released to the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA, to have the road fix but nothing had been done till date.
“So we are saying FERMA should explain to the Igede nation where the said fund went to and why the road has not been fixed despite the supposed provision made for it to be fixed,” he said.
On his part the National President of the National Union of Igede Students, NUIS, Sunday Abinya lamented that the Igede people were suffering neglect and “nothing good is coming to our land.”