Abia State was locked down yesterday as armed soldiers in a bid to prevent commuters from entering Umuahia, from Aba and other parts of the state, barred motorists heading towards Umuahia from using the Enugu/Port Harcourt Expressway and any other roads leading to the state capital.
In the soldiers’ bid to comply with what they said was order from above, they also prevented commuters from South-South and other South-East states going to Enugu and other parts of the country from using the expressway.
It was confusion galore because residents did not know what was the problem as the soldiers who did not entertain questions, allowed commuters coming into Aba while those heading towards Umuahia and other parts of the country were not allowed to use the expressway.
From Umuika junction to Ubakala junction down to Abia Tower, a group of soldiers who were stationed at every point, turned vehicles back.
Due to the development, many passengers particularly those travelling to far places other than Umuahia were stranded. While those heading for Umuahia from Aba could easily return home, those from other states who had no where to go, particularly nursing mothers, were seen spreading their wrappers by the road-side to breast-feed their babies.
Some stranded passengers who spoke on the development, wondered why the soldiers would block a federal highway and in the process subjected Nigerians to such hardship.
One of the passengers who gave his name as Chima, who was travelling to Enugu in a bus said he and other passengers had been on the road for more than three hours.
According to Chima, who said he had an appointment in Nsukka, described the situation as unfortunate and frustrating.
The situation was even worse as the soldiers turned back a police escort and their principal whose explanations or plea to be allowed to continue with their trip were rebuffed by the soldiers.