Commercial drivers have decried increasing cases of robbery, kidnapping and other criminal activities along the second Niger Bridge.
The drivers under the Heavy Duty Drivers Association said criminals have taken over the route, including the Obosi-Owerri axis of the road.
National President, Mr Uchenna Nebuwa, in a chat with reporters in Onitsha said members of the association and other drivers no longer use the bridge due to security concerns.
He said his members have lost over N20billion worth of vehicles and goods on that road following its deplorable condition, especially the Obosi-Owerri road.
He said, “Drivers are afraid because there is no adequate security on the second Niger bridge. Hoodlums, armed robbers and kidnappers have taken over the route. They now operate along the bridge unhindered.
“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 provide security in the area and help us fix the failed portions of Obosi-Owerri road as this will encourage drivers to be using the bridge.”
Also speaking, Chairman, Great Tippers Association of Nigeria, Anambra Chapter, Mr Chukwuemeka Olekpe, expressed worry over the security situation, saying armed robbers and kidnappers have scared them away from using the bridge.
Meanwhile, Joint Task force of Anambra and Delta state Police Command have commenced patrol on the Bridge as part of efforts to make it more motorable and safe for road users.
Addressing journalists on Friday during the patrol on the bridge, Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Aderemi Adeoye, said his men have patrolled the length of the bridge to access the condition of the infrastructure.
He said, “We have patrolled the entire length of the bridge repeatedly and to access the condition of the infrastructure and to identify the vulnerable points for vandals.
“We have noted the contractor in charge of the bridge, Julius Berger, supervised by the Federal Ministry of Works have carried out internal repairs on the vandalised portions and we are happy about this.
“We owe a responsibility to the nation, to protect this asset and ensure that vandals don’t have a filled day.”
Also speaking, Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations Delta State police command, DCP Johnson Adenola, said the bridge was underutilized and the purpose would be defeated if people were not driving on the bridge.
“The bridge is very under-utilized and the purpose would be defeated if people are not driving on this bridge.
“We have taken it as a joint responsibility, and we have warned our Divisional Police Officer (DPOs) and the patrol teams, we have charged them to regularly patrol the bridge”, he said.