Residents of Bundu ward in Old Port Harcourt Township have raised alarm over the poor condition of the only road leading to their ward.
The area bordering Port Harcourt Dockyard is home to three federal agencies: Port Harcourt Correctional Center, Dockyard, and Railroad Quarters. Also, NPA wards and prison wards are located along Bundu Road which ends at the waterfront with squatter buildings.
From the junction, which branches off to the prison quarters and the shipyard on the left axis down, the road has been cratered and most of the tar is gone.
The bumpy ride to the Bundu waterfront starts from the entrance to the prison quarters and stretches out to the squalid quarter bordering the river.
The poor condition of Bundu Road is now impacting drivers.
Some taxi drivers, who spoke to The Tide Metro about the poor road conditions, said they now spend most of their daily income on car repairs.
One of the taxi drivers, who ply the dilapidated road, Olusanya Bakari, said he has been plying the road for 12 years but the current road situation is the worst in recent years.
He said the road which was last repaired in 2015 has deteriorated to the point that bus drivers now avoid using it.
Tide Metro has confirmed that commercial buses are now dropping off commuters halfway, at the junction near the maximum Dockyard Correctional Center and turning.
This development from The Tide Metro surveys has doubled the fare for most residents, who lament that the situation is now putting a strain on their finances.
Of the huge expense involved in repairing their vehicles, Bakari said, “Every week I fix my steering box, brake box, brake pad and bolts. All the suspensions of my vehicles have disappeared.
Bakari urged the government, especially the federal government, whose agencies are mainly located in the region, to save the day.
For his part, Chinedu Ezekiel, alias “Prince Nwakaibeya”, recalled that the road had been in poor condition since 2015, “after the maintenance, there had been no effort to improve the condition of the road”, said he declared.
With a huge population and the presence of the shipyard and railway districts of Nigerian ports, Mr. Ezekiel said, it is sad that the area is abandoned.
Prince Nwakaibeya said they were spending huge sums to repair their vehicles, hence the transport fare which was previously N50 from Lagos Bustop to Bundu has increased to N100.
Apart from bad roads, he revealed that Bundu also has poor infrastructure, such as clean water and electricity, “What we need now is a good road and the government should come to our help,” he said.
A resident, Owutubo Adolphus, told The Tide Metro that the road had been in disrepair for three years, “the road seriously affects us. Our business is also affected,” he observed,
Many pedestrians avoid the muddy road and have to walk past shops lining the road as Goodness Stephen, who runs a saloon, frowns at the situation. “Since I arrived here six months ago the road has been like this and most taxis don’t run here anymore.”
Mr. Adolphus’ wife sells fruit by the roadside, as he lamented that with the poor condition of the road, it has become difficult to bring their goods to the area. “Sometimes we have to hire a wheelbarrow because the bus drivers and taxis would charge you more, because of the bad road.”
Poor road conditions in the area have not affected rents and accommodation costs, as Mr. Adolphus noted that rents have skyrocketed over the years. The Tide Metro has learned that a room in the area now costs N7,000 compared to N3,500 a few years ago.
Folake Oyedele, a roadside meat vendor, told The Tide Metro she had lived in the neighborhood for 40 years. “I was born and raised here,” she said, decrying the poor road conditions.
Oyedele instructed the natives of the area to approach the government to rehabilitate the road, “I don’t understand why they should relax and see the road deteriorate as it is today.”
Ms Oyedele revealed that many people were leaving the area because of the road, “the government should come to our rescue, even the vehicles are not coming to the spot”.
For Jennifer Peter, who roasts plantains and yams near the prison club, the road has affected her business because customers who frequent her no longer come back, “if you look at the environment, no one would want to come and buy with us.”
She blamed the hike in transport fares on poor road conditions: ‘We used to pay N50 but now it’s N100,’ Ms Peters said, while seeking government intervention .
Apart from the road, the main public services are absent in the Bundu region. Mr. Adolphus said they have no drinking water except for wells and boreholes which serve as water sources. Most of them were dug during colonial times, as the area was mostly occupied by government employees in prisons and port authorities, including railways.
However, Ms Peter said the electricity supply is decent and above average in the region, “Electricity is generally decent here. There is no day when we do not see the light which is better than certain regions.
By: Kevin Nengia