Port Harcourt — Businesses and companies located along the Eleme axis of the East-West Road in Rivers State are groaning under the continued shut down of the road by youths, which entereed the second day on Wednesday.
Recall that various youth groups in Rivers State, protesting the deplorable state of the road, had on Tuesday blocked the road at the Eleme axis with petrol trucks, demanding for the immediate reconstruction of the deplorable sections of the road by the Federal Government.
The protesters maintained that a road housing several multi-dollar investments and businesses such as Onne seaport, Port Harcourt Refinery, Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority, Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited, Notore Fertilizers, Intels, among other, should be given a priority.
As a result, the blockage has cut off these businesses from the rest of Rivers state and neighbouring states like Abia, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom.
A prominent leader of the protest and rights activist, Mr Akpobari Celestine, said the Minister of Niger Delta, Sen Godswill Akpabio, has called for a meeting with the protesters and the elders of Ogoni.
Celestine said the protest will continue for at least a week until the Federal Government mobilises contractors to commmence the reconstruction of the deplorable sections of the road.
“The Minister has written us that we should set the date and time for a meeting. But a meeting with the minister is not why we are on the road.
“If they (federal government) do not mobilise contractors to commence work on the road, we will remain on this road and keep the road unused by everybody,” he stated.
Meanwhile, companies operating in the area have began to groan under continued inability to access their facilities and businesses.
Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited said the blockade has affected its production and that it was losing manhours, due to the inability of their personnel to come to work.
The Head, Corporate Communications, Indorama, Dr. Jossy Nkwocha, who attested to the deplorable state of the road, appealed to the government and the protesters to dialogue over the matter, for the benefit of all parties.
“Companies shouldn’t be made the scapegoat. We are losing manhours as our workers have not been able to come to work since Monday. So it’s affecting our services as well as production.
“We are appealing to both the government and the protesters to come to a consensus amd reach an agreement; so that the road can be repaired, and so that it will be a win-win situation for all,” he said.