In all fairness, kudos must be given to the Akwa Ibom State Government and the Ministry of Transport in particular for their determined and consistent effort to see that the State’s transport sector, unlike what is obtainable in other states in the country is gradually sanitized, especially as it pertains to order in the location of motor park sites. The orderliness and tranquility been restored in the state capital are testimonies to this commitment.
However, the situation around the Itam market seems to present an ugly departure from this celebrated decency. Great danger looms in the fast developing habit of Truck Drivers who carelessly leave their trucks overnight or for days by the roadside of the market.
This could be understandable and manageable if it happens on main market day when traffic is expectetedly slow, nearly throughout the day’.
Beyond that, there is a great need for worry. While this reckless parking poses a progressive hindrance to traffic which would helplessly spill onto the round-about and adjoining roads during the day, considering the location of the market, the worst is feared at night when long distant vehicles from or into the state ply the road. It is twice as dangerous on days the street lights may not be on and the lorries, as usual, are left without any caution sign or reflectors. Needless to mention that on several occasions, cars had rammed into these stationary trucks.
Similar situation is observed at the Ayadeghe-Calabar-Itu Bridge Head where stationary trailers have been allowed to force the 4-lane expressway into a narrow footpath, completely obstructing the view of on-coming vehicles and even that of pedestrians crossing the road around the area.
At this point, it is proper to condemn the mini-motor park that is developing just on the edge of the bridge, mindless of the possibility of any running vehicle that could lose control on leaving the bridge.
It may be excused that, like other travelers, the truck drivers often stop over at the bridge head for refreshment; but the dangers their truck can pose if carelessly cleared or parked overnight on the very edge of the already bad road in the way it is presently can only be imagined.
Lets think again of the Itam market situation. It is glaring that there scarcely can be any provision for a trailer’s park within the Itam Market premises, but a standing order could be passed to that effect, that immediately after offloading, drivers should take their vehicles to anywhere off the road, provided still that they do not encroach on the right of way. Similarly, standby and patrolling security and traffic personnel around the calabar-Itu bridgehead should a matter of urgent public necessity look beyond the collaborative acts of palm-greasing for deadly favours to the safety of life that their duty entails.
By and large, outside its concomitant dangers, we see the recurrent attitude of illegal parking in the state as an indirect advertertent attempt by drivers t challenge government’s power or belittle her directives. These infractions can best be addressed by the reinforcement of existing laws on illegal parking wherever such is outlawed or exacting of stiff penalties on offenders. If the attitude is treated with kid gloves, we are afraid, it might soon be seen as normal and cannot but expect Aba syndrome being environmental cleanliness.