Hundreds of travellers were on Monday stranded for hours on East-West Road following protest by Ijaw youths over the appointment of Mr Effiong Awka as the Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The East-West road is the major expressway linking the Southsouth region to other parts of the country.
The protesting youths, who barricaded the expressway on the Mbiama section, said they were irked by Akwa’s appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari last week.
They, therefore, demanded the setting up of a substantive management board for the region.
The protest was led by spokesperson for the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Ebilade Ekerefe and the Chairman of the Central Zone of IYC, Comrade Inodu Clever.
The angry protesters brandished placards with inscriptions such as, ‘We say no to appointment of sole administrator for NDDC’, ‘Ijaw youths demand substantive board for NDDC’, ‘Senator Akpabio: ‘Niger Delta Region is not your personal estate’, ‘Akpabio, stop playing politics with NDDC’, among others.
They accused Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, of pocketing the region and playing politics with NDDC, thereby undermining the region”s development for selfish gains.
Ekerefe said they would not allow any politician to pocket the Niger Delta, stressing that the appointment of a sole administrator was alien to the NDDC Act.
The blockade of the expressway led to gridlock, a development that made many travellers stranded and vehicles stood still for many hours.
Many traders alighted from the vehicles they were travelling on and were seen discussing the situation a hushed tones.
One of th travellers, who gave her name only as Bukky, said she was travelling to Lagos but met a brick wall at Mbiama, a boundary between Rivers and Bayelsa states.
She said she left Port Harcourt, Rivers capital by 5.30am to enable her to get to Lagos early because of the bad road but her journey was scuttled.
Bukky stated: “We have been in traffic jam for hours here. We learnt that some youths are protesting. The protesting youths blocked the road and we are stranded. There are a lot problems on this road.
If it is not craters that dot many sections of the road, it is endless checkpoints and if it is not either of the two, it is protest. What have we done to deserve all these problems. We are fed up with the problems on this East-West road” she said.