By Archibong Jeremiah
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River state has appealed to tanker drivers in the state to call off their ongoing strike which has worsened the fuel supply situation and hiked transport fares across the state.
The governor also promised the tanker drivers who are striking over the impassable state of the Calabar – Itu Federal Highway, that remedial work on the road will commence immediately.
Leading a state government delegation for an on-the-spot assessment of the road which has been in a very terrible state, the Chief of State to Governor Ayade, Mr. Martin Orim said, as a responsive government, the administration views seriously the plight of its people, noting that the challenge on the road is of great concern to the state government.
He lamented that the bad state of the road was the reason why the tanker drivers in the state have embarked on a strike.
According to him, Cross River state is taking immediate charge of the section of the road that affects the state and appealed to its Akwa Ibom State counterpart to rehabilitate the section of the road that concerns the state.
Mr. Orim advised Cross Riverians and other road users to be patient with the state government, assuring them that everything was being done to alleviate their plight on the road within the shortest possible time.
Speaking on the level of intervention the state government intends to carry out on the road, the Director of Civil Works at the State Ministry of Works, Engineer Godwin Akeke, revealed that “it would require a whole lot of work. What you are seeing here are unsuitable materials. We intend to remove all the unsuitable materials impeding the road and replace them with hardcore to get the road to a very good state.
“We don’t intend to do a temporary work, what we intend to do is what will stand the test of time and all agencies have been mobilised to ensure smooth flow of traffic as the work is going on, ”he stated.
The tanker driver’s strike literally paralyzed life in the state capital and on Tuesday as a result of the fuel scarcity regular transportation fee of fifty naira (N50) per drop within specified distance in town has increased to a hundred naira (N100).
From Calabar main town to Eight Miles which regularly costs seventy naira (N70) has become one hundred and fifty naira (N150).
Calabar to Odukpani that regularly costs one hundred naira (N100) is now one hundred and fifty naira (N150).
From Calabar to Akamkpa (main town) usually is two hundred (N200) but today it’s three hundred naira (N300), while going to places like Uyangha is two hundred and fifty naira (N250), Ugep one thousand (N1000), and Biase is between seven and eight hundred Naira (N700 and N800).
Usually even with the eighty-five naira (N85) pump price policy, some petrol stations were selling at hundred (N100), now with the scarcity, the few stations who have, sell for one hundred and fifty naira (N150) per liter in Calabar the State capital.
In the black market, a liter is selling for two hundred naira (N200). In Odukpani and Akamkpa, filling stations who have, sell at one hundred and seventy naira (N170) with black marketers also selling at two hundred naira (N200).
As at the time of filling this report, our reporter was still making effort to get a reaction from a representative of the tanker drivers.
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