Aggrieved drivers and ex-militants on Wednesday barricaded a section of the East-West road to protest rising cases of killings, kidnapping, armed robberies and other criminal activities along the gateway road.
Chanting songs in solidarity, the protesters insisted the worsening insecurity along the Rivers State axis of the road was alarming and called for deployment of soldiers at strategic points on the road.
The leader of ex-agitators, Ebi John, said gunmen were operating with impunity on the road terrorising drivers and commuters by kidnapping and holding them hostage in the surrounding bushes.
He said the criminal activities made the road a death trap and lamented that women were freely raped while others were killed by the marauders at slightest provocation.
He said: “We are in pains. Every single day there are killings, kindnapping, arm robbery along the East-West road and in the entire Niger Delta, which we are not happy about.
“We are appealing to the government to send soldiers to the troubled areas on the East-West road.
“We need the military troops because we are not safe anymore. Our wives are raped, our brothers and sisters are kidnapped and they cannot travel through the road free again.
“We are urging the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Delta Safe (ODS) to deploy troops in the areas where the kidnapping is happening. We will continue to protest until this problem is over”.
John argued the failure of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) contributed to the insecurity and appealed to the coordinator of the scheme to douse the tension in the region.
Another ex-freedom fighter, Oweikpele said most of the problems that led to the agitations in the region remained unresolved despite huge sums of money released to tackle all the issues by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said: “The people are still roaming the street and they are still subjected to other unforeseen circumstances. There should be a town hall meeting where all the stakeholders will find an end to these problems”.