From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Igbo youths under the aegis of the South East Youth Leaders, the umbrella body of youth groups in the region, has urged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on South East roads to avoid looming danger on the dilapidated roads.
A statement by the President General of the group, Goodluck Ibem, noted that the call had become necessary as a result of the numerous accidents experienced on the roads.
Ibem noted that the incident might increase during the yuletide if the roads are not given urgent attention. He also noted that the complaints by Petroleum Tanker Drivers Association who make use of the roads regularly will be addressed.
Revealing some of the roads Ibem said “We are displeased over the deplorable state of Port Harcourt – Aba and other federal expressways that have brought untold hardship to Nigerians most especially the Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, branch of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG.
“The highways have turned to death traps, dens of thieves and truck hijackers for Petroleum Tanker Driver. The members and other Nigerians are losing their lives and sources of livelihood on an hourly basis.
“it is the height of insensitivity to lives of Innocent Nigerians on the part of the Federal Government to delay a single day without fixing the deplorable Aba – Port Harcourt expressway and other federal expressways. As a result of the hardship experienced by Tankers drivers on the roads, they are on strike and the price of fuel, kerosene and other petroleum products has risen about the reach of the common man in the country.
“Nigerians have already had it rough since the year began, and it will amount to adding salt into injury by allowing this current incessant increments in prices of petroleum products to continue unabated in this festive season.
“The Aba – Port Harcourt expressway and other expressways have been in a very bad state for the past 5 years without anything been done by the federal government to alleviate the plight of petroleum Tanker Drivers and other motorists plying the road. Nigerians conveying goods from Port Harcourt to Aba and other states buy exorbitant transport fares as a result of the bad shape of the express roads.
“The deplorable state of the roads has led to fire accident leading to the death of drivers and passerby who are unfortunately at the scene of the accident. Last year in Onitsha, over 100 persons died as a result of a petroleum tanker that fell on a bad spot of the road and properties worth billions of naira destroyed.
“The prices of petroleum products has risen above the reach of the common man. Fuel that is officially sold for N165 per litre is now sold for N300. Kerosene that was sold at 250 per litre is now sold for N350,” Ibem complained.