Thousands of commuters and hundreds of vehicles were forced to spend the night on the road at Okoyong along Itu – Calabar highway when two articulated vehicles got stuck at a bad portion of the collapsed federal highway linking Calabar, Nigeria’s third-largest port city with the rest of the country.
Impatient motorists made the matter worse when they blocked oncoming traffic while trying to manoeuvre their way to get through the logjam.
The result was a gridlock that could not budge until nightfall. Unfortunately, no rescue or tow equipment were available to pull out the stuck heavy-duty vehicles.
Passengers that could free themselves got down from their commercial vehicles and walked several kilometres to board motorcycles that took them to places where they could board vehicles to continue their journeys. Commercial motorcycles made good business ferrying passengers across the bad spots.
Those who could not abandon their vehicles spent the night stuck at the spot.
The road, which was built about 40 years ago by the military administration, had been due for reconstruction some 20 years ago. But successive governments had only intervened with remedial works, the latest being three years ago by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
The Itu – Calabar Road is the main road linking Cross River State with other states in the South-south and South-east. And it is the only road that links southern markets with the ports in Calabar.