Truck Drivers Block Lokoja-Abuja Road To Protest Colleague’s Killing

Truck Drivers Block Lokoja-Abuja Road To Protest Colleague's KillingThe Lokoja-Abuja road has been blocked since around 2PM on Friday by truck drivers in protest of the killing of their colleague.

It was alleged that a military officer shot one of the tanker drivers for refusing to give him money.

The blockage has made it impossible for those travelling to the northern part of the country and those leaving to get to their destination.

Several travelers have been stranded along the Lokoja-Abuja road.

The truck driver, who was said to be coming from the north carrying cattle, was stopped at the military check point at Jamata Bridge. An argument was said to have ensued between the soldier and the driver which later escalated to fracas, and one of the soldiers was said to have open fire on the driver and killed him instantly.

The action of the military men infuriated other truck drivers who witnessed the incident they all then blocked the road with their trucks, making it impossible for road users to travel.

The military men were said to have taken to their heels to avoid been lynched by the angry tanker drivers.

Meanwhile the governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello has described the incident as unfortunate.

In a statement issued by his Director General Media and Publicity, Mr Kingsley Fanwon, the Governor stated that the unfortunate incident is being investigated.

He urged the affected drivers to exercise patience and wait for the reports of the investigations, adding that the Kogi state government would ensure protection of lives and property as every life is important to government.

The Governor urged residents of Koton-Karfe to refrain from jungle justice as government has enough machinery for investigations and justice dispensation.

FEC says flooding is national emergency; opens by-passes on Lokoja-Abuja road

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has described the flooding in Kogi State and other parts of the country as a national emergency and calls on all Nigerians to stop blaming the government and assist it in the provision of succour to the affected peoples.

Aerial view images of flooding around river Niger in Lokoja

The Minister for the Environment, Hadiza Melafia who spoke to state house correspondents after the council meeting said that the flooding being experienced in the country does not in any way fall into what can be described as man-made describing it as a natural phenomenon happening everywhere in the world.

Ms Melafia said the presidential committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan have visited seven states to ascertain the extent of impact of the flood on life and infrastructure and to identify immediate areas of intervention.

“The most devastating that we have witnessed is that of Kogi State where we have a major road completely made impassable.

“We have also seen a lot of infrastructure submerged and witnessed very traumatising experiences by people that were affected,’’ she said.

She said among the consequences of the flooding was huge loss of farmlands which might likely pose a threat to food security.

The minister said academic calendar was affected, people were displaced and there was likelihood of health challenges in the affected areas.
She underscored the need for Nigerians to make concerted efforts towards addressing the challenges of climate change.

She said the River Niger which over-flew its bank in Lokoja flows from Guinea Conakry through the northern region where there was acute desertification.

By-passes on Lokojo-Abuja road

Meanwhile, following the reports of a survey on the Kogi flooding by the presidential committee, the Federal Executive Council will on Thursday open a by-passes as a diversion for vehicles to drive through the Lokoja-Abuja road.

The Minister of Works, Mike Onolemenen, disclosed this to State House correspondents, after this week’s Council meeting presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo.

Mr Onolemenen said the bye-passes which had been created around the flooded area would be opened to motorists from Thursday.
He said government had engaged construction giants in the country to create the bye-passes as a temporary measure to ease the suffering of commuters.

“What we’ve been doing since yesterday morning is that around the flooded area, we identified a bye-pass which we have created.

“As at this morning, we have attained about 60 per cent completion. From the way we are going, by tomorrow, the road should be opened to motorists.

“We have done a diversion at those drainages and vehicles will be able to now drive normally through this bye-pass without having recourse to canoes on our roads as a result of the flooding that happened.

“For us, that was a national priority because we needed to open that particular transport corridor so that movement between the southern states and the northern states will not be impaired.

“We have done that and I want Nigerians to be assured that government is with them in this situation and that government will continue to do all in its power to ensure that the pains are reduced to the barest minimum,” he said.

Floods kill eight; displace over 1 million in Kogi

Eight persons have been killed and about one million displaced from their home in Kogi State by the recent flooding that have ravage the state due to the release of Kainji and Shiroro dams of the River Niger, an official said on Monday.

The Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) operations in Abuja, Ishaya Isah, who in company of some members of the National Assembly from Kogi West visited one of the relieve camp in Lokoja, confirmed that about eight persons have lost their lives as a result of the flood while over 332 communities were washed away by the flood.

“About nine local governments were affected by the waters and over 332 communities have suffered this devastation of the flood. People lost their household utensils, their houses and over 70 percent of them lost all their farm products,” he said.

Mr Isah said that the eight persons that died were killed when a boat cap sided in Banda, a community which is about ten minutes’ drive away from Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.


Abuja road blocked

The Lokoja-Abuja road wish have a free flow of traffic for quite sometimes now have been put on hold as a result of the flood, water from river Niger has over flown and move across the road in Banda village making it difficult for vehicles heading to Abuja or returning from the FCT to the eastern part of the states to move.

Some commuters trapped on either side of the road told Channels Television’s reporter that they have been there in the last two days without head ways. Getting out of Banda some commuters use canoes to get to the other side of the river while others ride on commercial motorcycle to get to Banda.

Some travellers said the state government should take a proactive step in putting a temporary solution to the situation by inviting an engineer to drain out the water.

Alternative routes
Meanwhile, the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) said it has worked out alternative routes to and from Abuja to lessen the agony of motorists, following the temporary closure of the flooded Lokoja-Abuja Road.
In a statement on Monday, the Deputy Corps Public Education Officer of the commission, Bisi Kazeem urged motorists driving from Lagos and wishing to use Okene-Lokoja-Abuja route, to divert to Okene-Ajaokuta-Ayangba-Ankpa-Makurdi Lafia-Akwanga-Abuja route.
Those coming from the South East should use Otukpa-Makurdi route, and those driving from Abuja to Lokoja should use Akwanga-Lafia-Makurdi-Ankpa-Okene route.
He said the commission had also deployed more personnel in those routes to forestall traffic gridlock.