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Imo market disaster: Residents call for improved infrastructure

A gravel-laden articulated truck descending from the Umuozu end of the Anara - Orlu road had lost its brake, leading to a loss of control…

Residents of Amaigbo, Isu, Umuozu and adjoining communities in Nwangele Local Government Area of Imo State, who were hard hit by the May 1, crash that killed more than 10 people at the Nkwommiri market have appealed to the state and local governments to provide infrastructure in the market to avoid a repeat of the sad incident.

A gravel-laden articulated truck descending from the Umuozu end of the Anara – Orlu road had lost its brake, leading to a loss of control by the driver.

It consequently rammed into a crowd of traders and buyers at the Nkwommiri market situated at the bank of the Nwangele River.

Most of the residents who spoke with South East Trust at the scene of the incident lamented the lack of infrastructure, especially stalls, which had compelled the traders to display their wares along the road.

They appealed to the state government to construct more stalls to accommodate more traders.

Mrs Jane Mbamara, who told our correspondent that she escaped by sheer grace of God, said that she had gone to the market earlier in the morning to buy vegetables, which she resells at her local stall in her home in Amaigbo.

“Most of the people who were affected were those that sell vegetables and second-hand clothing. They normally display their wares along the road because they have no stalls inside the market. In fact, they are mostly patronised because most people would want to quickly buy from them and go home,” she said

She said that had the accident occurred earlier in the morning, there would have been more casualties because the market is often at full capacity in the early hours of the day.

Mrs. Margareth Orisakwe, 77, whose 46-year old son was buried in the mud of Nwangele River, said that the solution would be moving the market out of the road.

With tears rolling over her cheeks, Mrs. Orisakwe, said the death of her son, who was a member of a local vigilante group in Umuozu, had brought her world to an end.

Mr. John Agu, a resident of Umuozu described the incident as the first of its kind in the community and called on the authorities to act urgently before another calamity happens.

Leader of the Umuchoke Umuozu Youth Organisation, Chinonso Uzoma, said the youth have embarked on small scale expansion of the roundabout by cleaning the drainage and erecting sign posts as guide to motorists plying the road.  He called on the state government for intervention.

The Lawmaker representing  Nwangele/Isu/Nkwere/Njaba federal constituency, Ugonna Ozuruigbo, and his counterpart representing Nwangele state constituency, Amara Iwuanyanwu, have visited the place and promised assistance.

Ozuruigbo also sponsored a motion on the floor of the House of Representatives, calling for the intervention of the federal government in expanding the Orlu – Anara road, especially the roundabout at Nkwommiri, to prevent frequent road mishaps in the area.


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