It was a harrowing experience for motorists and passengers along the Lagos-Okene-Lokoja-Abuja road as heavy gridlock held them hostage for almost 72 hours at the weekend.Consequently, motorcyclists in Okene made some brisk business as many of the passengers in commercial vehicles disembarked to patronise them.
The motorcyclists were seen meandering through available spaces to take them to the nearest point where they could board another vehicle to continue their journeys. The gridlock, which stretched to about six milometers from the Federal College of Education (FCE) Okene to Total Filling Station and another six kilometers from Itakpe to the FCE, was caused by the deplorable condition of the road.
Although the contract for the federal road leading to Lagos had been awarded, the contractors are not in site yet leaving the road in a total state of disrepair.Most passengers were stranded for 24 hours, while others were stranded for an upward of 72 hours in Okene as a result of the bad roads along FCE, Okene.
The Itakpe road bypass, which would have served as alternative exit for the motorists also experienced gridlock.It was learnt that the heavy downpour that lasted for three days around Okene, worsened the already bad condition of the road making it almost impassable.
Over 100 trucks like Dangote trailers were stuck in the snarl as some were broken down as a result of overheating.Most travellers who spoke with The Guardian decried the situation, as some of them who were travelling from the North to either the West or Eastern part of the country could not get to their destinations on schedule.
The situation became so difficult that some of the travellers had to abandon their vehicles for any possible means to get to their destinations.However, officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and security agents were sighted doing everything possible to ease the situation as they took control of the congestion.
A commercial motorcycle rider told The Guardian that they charged passengers who were travelling to Edo State N1000 to enable them get to the outskirts of the town where they could board another vehicle to Benin City and other parts of the country.
The passengers urged the Federal Government to expedite action on fixing the road by moving the contractors to site as sson as possible. They also appealed to the Governor Yahaya Bello to also rehabilitate the Itakpe-Eika-Kuroko-Okene road since the road serves as an alternative route for motorists travelling through the town whenever the FCE road is blocked.