The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says it has deployed 15 officers in two patrol vehicles to manage the heavy gridlock on the Gegu-Koton karfe section of the Lokoja-Abuja highway which has held travellers on standstill for two days.
Commuters on Friday night slogged their way as sections of the Jamata axis (Murtala Bridge) of the highway was closed and for rehabilitation work.
But on Saturday, an accident involving two articulated vehicles on the second lane caused a standstill and mayhem for travellers.
The situation was worsened by a heavy downpour that lasted about six hours in the day and rendered the road impassable, forcing many motorists to sleep in the traffic.
While many travellers expressed their frustrations, some blamed the situation on the road safety agency for what they presumed as an impassive response to the situation at hand.
A traveller, Ṣeun Maiye, who vented his anger on Twitter, claimed there was no FRSC officer on site to attend to the situation.
“The only justification for the terrible gridlock along Lokoja-Abuja Expressway so since Saturday night is if @FRSCNigeria only works on Monday to Friday.
Spent 15-hours for a 2-hours trip and there was no single @FRSCNigeria official on duty. NONE!!!” he tweeted.
Kogi state governor, Yahaya Bello, who visited the place and took up a traffic warden’s role, blamed FRSC officials for slow response in moving the articulated vehicles out of the road.
Officers of the Nigerian army, navy, civil defence and vigilante group later joined the governor and his security personnel in controlling the traffic.
Responding to enquiries, the FRSC’s spokesperson, Bisi Kazeem, in a phone interview with PREMIUM TIMES, debunked reports that the road safety agency was not doing anything to control the traffic.
Mr Kazeem said some officers of the corps were at the scene on Saturday to bring calm to the situation
“It is not that true, they (the Corps officers) were not there on Saturday. Controlling traffic is what they are trained for.
“Since it is a long queue of vehicles, some of the travellers may not have seen them,” he said.
The Unit Commander of the Corps at Koton Karfe, Isaac Nzapsima, who was at the scene of the gridlock, also confirmed the FRSC officers were stationed at Gegu to control movement of vehicles going to and from Abuja.
“The gridlock is gradually easing and normal traffic movement will soon be restored,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Kazeem said 15 officers from the corps’ headquarters joined others already at the scene of the incident on Monday.