The National President of Heavy Duty Drivers Association, Mr Uchenna Nebuwa says members of the association and other drivers no longer use the second Niger Bridge because of security concerns.
Nebuwa told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Onitsha that criminals have taken over the route, including Obosi-Owerri axis of the road.
According to him, hoodlums, armed robbers and kidnappers now operate along the bridge.
“Drivers are afraid because there is no adequate security on the second Niger bridge, Federal Government should provide security to secure lives and property.
“Another worrisome one is the failed portions of Obosi-Owerri road, as our trucks fall on the road on daily basis, we have lost over N20 billion worth of vehicles and goods on that road.
”We are begging Federal Government to help us fix the failed portions of Obosi-Owerri road as this will encourage drivers to be using the second Niger bridge”, he said.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Great Tippers Association of Nigeria, Anambra Chapter, Mr Chukwuemeka Olekpe, expressed concern about the security situation, saying armed robbers and kidnappers have scared them away from using the bridge.
On his part, a commercial bus driver, Paul Osakwe, who plies Asaba-Owerri road, said drivers avoid the area because the bridge has become lonely and insecure.
“The bridge is not secure, it’s too lonely, you can’t even try to use it at night, even you inside the bus will be scared, government should at least install light on the bridge, maybe that will help”, he said.
Mr Seyi Martins, the Engineer in charge of the bridge, attributed its low usage to the security challenges in the South-East, adding that their mandate was to construct the bridge and open it to ease traffic.
NAN recalls that the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Mr Mahmuda Mamman, had while inspecting the vandalised part of the bridge on Monday, urged security agencies to beef up security on the second Niger bridge and surrounding areas.