Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, Governors Willie Obiano of Anambra State and Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State have been urged to direct the removal of every form of road blocks being used to extort money from motorists and users on both sides of Onitsha Niger Bridge.
A cross-section of users of the ever busy bridge and traders in Onitsha in Save Our Soul message to the acting president and others lamented that both Onitsha and Asaba end of the Niger Bridge have become extortionist points for uniformed personnel and some hoodlums who parade themselves as revenue agents of state governments.
Mr. Clement Ezenwata, a trader at Bridgehead market but resides at Asaba, lamented that most times it took two hours or more to cross over from Asaba to Onitsha due to the road blocks mounted by the soldiers, the police and men of Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), saying that the unfortunate situation has been worsened by the presence of hoodlums who allegedly collect tolls from motorists.
At the Onitsha end, said Ezenwata, the soldiers, men of FRSC and others line up at both sides of bridge with their road blocks, extorting money from motorists and users of the bridge.
Said Ezenwata: “It is only in this part of the country that security operatives mount road blocks on an Expressway to collect tolls. They also inflict psychological fear on the people and sabotage the economic activities of the traders in Onitsha.
Why don’t they station security operatives in other cities where expressway passes? Why not do it in Benin? Onitsha Bridge is oil well. They collect millions of naira there.
A driver who regularly ply the bridge, Mr. Kenneth Osadebe, said they have gone through terrible experience, saying “apart from money they extort, they work in concert with touts to cause traffic hold up and extort money from motorists”.
He then called on Osinbajo to direct all the security outfits to remove the road blocks from both ends of the Niger Bridge.
Osadebe also asked Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State and his Delta State counterpart to dismantle hoodlums embarrassing the two state Governments through their criminal activities.