Many motorists and commuters plying the Bida-Minna, Bida-Lambata and Bida-Mokwa federal roads were stranded on Friday as drivers of heavy trucks blocked the roads, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
The drivers are protesting what they described as the poor condition of the roads.
NAN reports that vehicles have not been allowed into Bida from Minna or Lambata-Agie- Bida Road in the last 24 hours because of the blockade.
The protesters have also blocked the Gurara bridge to prevent motorists from coming in and going out of the state capital, Minna.
The stranded motorists lamented that the protesters besieged the road exactly on the Gurara bridge between Lambata and Izom since afternoon, preventing vehicles from plying the road in and out of Minna.
Abubakar Musa, a resident of Bida town, told NAN in a telephone interview that several commercial vehicles from Lagos and other states were stranded in Bida due to the blocking of the road by the heavy truck drivers.
Musa said it had been tough for road users and residents of Bida over the action of the truck drivers who blocked the major highway.
He said: “The action has affected business activities while some school children could not access their schools.
“Worthy of mention is also the threat posed by some of the fuel-ladden trucks, especially with few individuals seen smoking around the scene.
“The protesting drivers said that being a major link between the South and the North, the route is left with only one alternative, which is the already dilapidated Bida-Agie-Lambata Road.
“They claimed that for days now, it has become difficult to navigate as its condition has worsened.”
Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim, a commuter, said: “I have been stranded for almost 20 hours in Bida on my way to Minna from Lagos.
“I can’t move since yesterday.
“So also a lot of commercial drivers and their passengers.”
Reacting to the demand of the articulated vehicle drivers to allow them to ply the Bida-Minna Road, the Niger State Commissioner for Works, Malam Mamman Musa, said the request would not be granted.
Musa, however, said that palliative works would be done on the Bida-Lambata route to make it motorable.
Hajiya Maryam Mustapha, a Minna resident, commended the efforts of the state government in the ongoing reconstruction of Minna-Bida Road.
Mustapha said: “I commend the commitment of the state government for not allowing heavy trucks to be plying Minna-Bida Road to enable the contractors handling the project to do quality work.
“The decision of the state government to prevent heavy trucks plying Minna-Bida Road is the best thing as it has reduced road crashes.”
The Controller, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in the State, Iheanacho Ume, told NAN that work on Lambata-Agie-Bida Road was stopped because of the rainfall, but that it would resume after the rainy season.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in the State, Monday Kuryas, said the police would ensure that law and order prevailed in the area.
Kuryas said: “We have deployed sufficient personnel in Lambata in Gurara Local Government Area and Bida Local Government Area to ensure law and order.”
Similarly, Mohammed Musa, Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps in the State, said personnel were on ground to ensure smooth movement of vehicles.