For drivers who try to beat long hours of traffic hold-up on the dilapidated Calabar-Itu Federal Highway, they sometimes have to resort to village roads in Itu, Akwa Ibom State, as a diversion.
But they have to contend with illegal roadblocks mounted by youths who force them to part with some money.
In November last year, a Premium Times reporter counted more than five of such illegal roadblocks when he passed through the village roads, using a taxi.
“We need money to buy pure water,” a young man said at one of the illegal roadblocks, as the taxi driver handed a hundred naira note to him.
A few weeks ago, on November 6, the reporter took another ride through the Calabar-Itu Road.
Nothing really has changed, apart from some patches on the road.
Calabar-Itu Highway, the only road linking Cross River and Akwa Ibom states, has remained dilapidated for over a decade now.
The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari recently awarded a contract for its rehabilitation to Julius Berger. But it appears the rehabilitation work has been abandoned, as construction equipment and workers are no longer seen on site.
A youth group on December 2 held a prayer session on the highway, asking God to ‘talk’ to Mr Buhari and other officials of his administration to take steps to repair the road.