Petroleum Tanker Drivers under the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, Anambra State chapter, yesterday protested over the state of bad roads in the South-East and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to fix them.
Addressing journalists in Onitsha, Anambra State, Unit Chairman of the drivers, Mr. Godwin Anyim, said between June and the end of September, the union had lost over N200 million occasioned by truck falls and related road crashes.
According to him, “each time our truck is involved in an accident, it will burn to ashes, the driver and conductor will die and the product will be lost because it is highly inflammable.”
Anyim, who was flanked by other leaders of the union including Pius Ani, Ugochukwu Ike, Emeka Obi and Izundu Onwunka, maintained that almost all the federal roads in the South-East were death traps.
He said the situation had led the union into industrial dispute with the government in the past, yet nothing was done about it.
The drivers said despite the death of no fewer than 72 persons at the Umunnya portion of the Onitsha-Enugu expressway in 2013 as a result of fuel tanker accident, the area is even worse than before.
“It is sad that we cannot go freely to Enugu from Onitsha, Umunnya to Awka is a death trap. We suffer it more than other road users because the products we carry are highly inflammable. We have made our case virtually everywhere, we have asked our governor to convey this message to the president, but whether the message was transmitted or not we do not know.
“Right now going from Nnewi to Arondizogu-Okigwe is impossible because of bad roads. Enugu-Port Harcourt-Onitsha roads which are the major routes most trucks from the South- East link depots in the South-South are in terrible conditions and all of them are federal roads.”
The union maintained that a journey of about 100 kilometers from Onitsha to Enugu takes them over four hours instead of one and a half hours.
“This loss in manpower, material and time will not do any good to the economy of a developing country such as Nigeria.’’
The drivers therefore, called on Buhari to come to their aid by fixing roads in the area.

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