The only road that connects Nigeria to Cameroon through Cross River State is in a terrible and deplorable condition, DAILY POST reports. The road, Atimbo/Akpabuyo in Calabar, Cross River State capital has severed the state capital from Akapbuyo and Bakassi local government areas of the state.
Commercial and private vehicles no longer ply the road. Food stuffs that came in from the rural areas of Bakassi and Akpabuyo local government have since been abandoned and are wasted away. The two local government areas have no preservation industry or company to preserved the food stuff produce in the areas. The road is currently impassable.
In spite of the bad nature of the road, the federal and state government agencies including Federal Road Safety Corps, the Police, Vehicle Inspection Officers, VIOs are still seen mounting road blocks and allegedly extorting money from the weeping motorists.
A commercial driver, Okon Akpan Udo 56, from Akwa Ibom and a regular user of the road regretted the presence of government agencies on the bad portion of the road. "Assuming they are directing drivers on where to take to avoid falling into the deep gully, it would be better, but here, they are still asking for vehicle papers and particulars, it's regrettable," he said.
"These people have become nuisance on the road and they irritate us, they mount road blocks even here (Pointing at the bad portion) it's very painful," he stressed. "I use this road four to six times a day, it is pathetic and then FRSC, Police (even with DPO), VIO are waiting, 200 metres apart to collect toll from cars with all types of silly reasons," he lamented
DAILY POST observed that a particular spot, between the end of the Navy barracks and the beginning of the Atimbo bush meat market, had several deep ditches which have clearly taken the road apart. Last rain worsened the matter resulting to massive pool of water that Calabar residents quickly christened "Atimbo Deep Sea Port," after one of state governor, Ben Ayade's signature project.
The cement manufacturing company, Lafarge that mainly use this road to transact business, pay for each truck that passes N12, 800 and the money was collected up front for one year.
"Every truck that leaves Lafarge pays N12, 800 (twelve thousand, eight hundred naira only) to the state government" a truck driver who pleaded for anonymity said.
"We are talking about a minimum of 200 trucks per day which adds up to a lot of money and if your state government cannot fix this road with the little contribution we are making then this unfortunate situation will continue to rub off on all of us," he further lamented.
The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ben Ayade, Mr Christian Ita, did not pick up calls when contacted.