24 September 2014, Awka – The non-completion of Onitsha-Enugu expressway has continued to constitute danger to motorists and other road users as a tanker laden with kerosine yesterday fell at Umunya end, spilling its content.
Though no life was lost in the accident involving the tanker marked SLK 24 XA, the development caused serious traffic gridlock as motorists, out of fear, held back from driving through the spill.
It would be recalled that a petrol tanker fell and caught fire very close to the same spot in 2004, killing 80 passengers.
An eyewitness blamed the accident on the pitiable condition of the road said to have been awarded to Niger Cat Construction Company over five years ago but had failed to complete it.
Vanguard learnt the road was divided between CCC Construction Company and Niger Cat Construction Company due to the slow rate of work by the former contractor handling the project.
While CCC has completed its end of the road, stretching from Niger Bridge Head Onitsha and former Toll Gate at Ogbunike, Niger Cat is yet to complete the Umunya to Amawabia Awka end of the road.
The witness, Mr. Kelechi Akum, said: “We do not know if this road is jinxed, you will recall that it was just a stone throw from here that a petrol tanker fell and caught fire where over 80 people were trapped and burnt to ashes.”
It was learnt that former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, worried by the slow pace of work on the road and incessant accident that occurred on a daily basis, had demanded that it be given to the state government to complete, having met with the Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen.
Sympathisers at the scene of the accident blamed the Federal Ministry of Works for the road not being completed., since it failed to release money for the contractor to complete the road.
They also accused former Governor Peter Obi’s government of not making enlough efforts to complete the project and appealed to Governor Willie Obiano to either prevail on the federal government to complete the road or use the instrumentality of the state to complete it.