It was hell for passengers plying the East- West road on Monday as protesting ex-militants barricaded the Mbiama Bridge. The action of the ex-militants got thousands of passengers plying the road stranded as they watched helplessly as the ex-militants chanted war songs.
According to eye-witnesses accounts, the ex-militants numbering about 200, and drawn from Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States had invaded the East-West Road as early as 6.am, where they impounded twbBridge from both ends.
The protesters also got some disused tyres and made bonfire on the road chanting war songs to discredit the Federal Government.
The ex-militants who said they were tired of empty promises from the Federal Government confessed they were the ones that invaded Abuja a few months ago to complain about their exclusion from the amnesty exercise.
One of those who spoke on behalf of the ex-militants, Chris Etemo explained that after the invasion of Abuja to air their grievances they were given assurances that they would be absorbed and their allowances paid in arrears.
He said they had to resort to this action because they were tired of waiting as it became clear that the Federal Government had no plans for them. He berated President Goodluck Jonathan and the amnesty committee for neglecting them, adding that when lPresident Umar Yar’ Adua was alive, they were adequately catered for.
Etemo said it was only the absorption of the remaining ex-militants and the payment of all the money owed them that would assuage their feelings. He hinted that they would continue to foment trouble.
After waiting for several hours with the Police unable to persuade the boys to leave, the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) General Charles Osas Omoriege appeared on the scene with some soldiers. While the boys had expected an open confrontation, Omoriege rather chose to appeal to them to remove the barricade and opt for dialogue to seek a way out of their predicament.
After speaking with some of the boys for some minutes, the barricades were eventually removed and the soldiers were able to coordinate the traffic to return normalcy to the area. A source at the JTF said the commander is likely to met with the leaders of the group so as to know their exact problems and look for ways to address it.