Activities were grounded along the Aba-Port Harcourt Expressway as truck drivers barricaded the road in Abia State.
The protest by the trailers, tankers, tippers, and other articulated vehicle drivers from the Ariaria junction to Flyover Alaoji in Aba caused gridlock and untold hardship to commuters along the corridor.
Channels Television reports that the aggrieved drivers are not happy with the state of the roads, incessant intimidation, and harassment of truck drivers by the Task Force at night amongst other issues.
Having barricaded the road for nine days, they demand a reversal in the fees demanded by security operatives. It was gathered that the protest, which started last Thursday has now stretched from Flyover to Obehie, over 25 kilometres, and beyond Osisioma, towards the Enugu end of the expressway.
At the scene of the protest, the truck drivers were seen cooking their meals on the expressway. Since the protest started, they shifted their base from the Ariaria Junction to Osisioma Junction, thereby preventing vehicles from the northern part of the country and other parts of South East from entering Aba.
While addressing journalists, the leader of the protesting truck drivers, Comrade Richard Chinedu said their decision to be on the roads for more than a week is aimed at drawing the attention of the government to their plights.
He described travelling along the Aba to Port Harcourt section of the expressway as hellish, lamenting the large-scale extortion of truck drivers by security operatives deployed to provide security along the expressway. He believes their action has further compounded their plight of navigating the bad portions of the expressway.
The Abia State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Bala, was on the ground to receive the protesters, calling for calm. CP Bala assured the aggrieved drivers that their grievances will be channelled to the right quarters.
“All of us here must adopt community safety police partnership. I appeal for calm, and I must appreciate your peaceful conduct,” the police commissioner said.
“Please, continue to allow peace to reign, I will convey your grievances to the appropriate quarters and in due time, there will be room for consultation.”