Lokoja, a capital city on the throes of logjam

Lokoja, a capital city on the throes of logjam

Wednesday, September 30, 2020 8:47 am

Gov. Yahaya Bello

Richard Elesho/ Lokoja

Lokoja, the Kogi State capital and her residents are trapped. They have been trapped for many days now. Travellers to and fro the State capital, many of whom may be en route to other places are stalled on the roads and have been decrying the situation.

All entry and exit routes into the city have been under the burden of unprecedented traffic gridlock for several days. The gridlocks were either caused by bad roads or flooded highwsys. The situation has forced many people to abort their trips unceremoniously.

For those coming or going to the Western zone (Kabba axis) of the state, the gridlock in Kabba junction has become traumatic. The same chaos causes nightmare for those going to or coming from the Central zone, i.e Okene area.

On both routes, the snarl-up can sometimes be as long as more than 15 kilometres stretching to Osara on Okene road and Gadabiu on Kabba road. The situation compels many travellers to make part of their trips on foot.

64-year-old Pa. Jaiyeola narrated how he had to disembark from a commercial bus to complete his journey by foot. “I was on my way from Omuo Ekiti and had planned to make it snappy. When we encountered the go slow it was so bad many of us came down and trekked about six kilometre to Kabba junction before we joined Keke to Zango Daji. The suffering is too much.”

Another traveller from Okene, Hajia claimed she had to make part of the journey to Lokoja hopping on commercial motorcycle at a high cost even after she had trekked before she could join another vehicle to the city.

Those on a journey to or from the East Senatorial zone have their own Waterloo at Ganaja village. For many days a devastating flood has made the road in the community unpassable for motorists.

TheNews gathered that floods have submerged more than 20 communities and displaced about 100,000 persons in nine Local Government Areas across the state. Victims have abandoned their homes to take refuge in public places like schools, churches and mosques.

The state Deputy Governor, Edward Onoja at stakeholders meeting said government had approved money to purchase drugs, food and other relief materials for the displaced persons. He assured that they will not be left in the cold.

But, the floods have taken over the roads. In Ganaja village for instance, the situation is so bad that canoes are more than vehicles on places that were once used as roads but now completely taken over by water. As several vehicles are forced to pack by the road sides desperate commuters make do with the services of the canoes and boats to arrive their destination.

Some young men touting on the road have converted the situation to brisk business. They approach stranded vehicle owners and offer to show them through a by-pass for a fee. The alternate route through an estate is also in very bad shape.

Concerned individuals have been making comments in the situation. While many blame the State government for the deplorable State of roads in the State others emphasized on its central location. This is how.

The State prides itself as the Confluence State. This is primarily because two of Africa’s big water bodies, Rivers Niger and Benue meet in Lokoja, its State capital.

That is not all. Its Central location makes going through her territories compulsory for travellers moving from the north to the South and vice versa. It is therefore the unofficial gateway State of the country.

An analyst, Mike Abubakar noted that “the unique location places much burden on road infrastructure in the State. It is therefore not surprising, that Kogi witnesses agonising traffic jams during festivals as many travellers struggle through the usually bad roads.

Similarly, he said the Dangote Cement factory Obajana and the Ajaokuta Steel Company attract high vehicular movement on poor road networks.

“This hold ups have been with us but they are more pronounced today because of the deplorable condition of our roads. There are bad roads everywhere you go in the State. Why shouldn’t there be logjams on the roads?

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