By Hannah Nathan, Warri
Passengers travelling on boat from Calabar, Cross River State, to Uyo, the state capital of Akwa Ibom State, have bemoaned the fact that the cost of transportation have increased insignificantly.
It is believed that the extraordinary rise is the result of increased in passenger travelling on that water route as a result of the Calabar-Uyo federal highway’s extremely poor condition over the past many years.
Due to the terrible state of the Calabar-Uyo federal highway and the rise in maritime crimes, particularly near the Calabar/Marina beach, Oron beach, Creek Town, and Adiabo beaches, more visitors to Akwa Ibom, Abia, and neighboring states are reportedly using boat services.
Priscilla Akpan and Fidelis Umoh, two low-income travellers along the Oron Waterway to Uyo, revealed that the fares had been increased.
For example, they reported that a travel from Calabar to Oron in Akwa Ibom State used to cost ₦3,000, but today it costs ₦6,000.
According to Umoh, a ferry ride from Calabar to the nearby settlements of Creek Town or Adiabo beaches costs anywhere from ₦3,000 to ₦4,000, depending on the time of day. These passengers were initially charged between ₦1,000 and ₦2,000.
“Cargo ferries charge extra fares for loads,” he stated. Motorcyclists who utilize the Adiabo or Creek Town beaches to access Okurikang and the surrounding areas must pay an additional fee because they are required to ride a motorcycle.
The trip from the beaches at Adiabo or Creek Town to Okurikang is roughly motorcyclists charge between ₦1000 and ₦1,500 per thousand kilometers.
Reliable sources revealed that in order to alleviate commuters’ difficulties on the appalling Calabar-Itu federal route, the State Government may consider repairing the Adiabo Bridge, which was abandoned many years ago during the late General Sani Abacha dictatorship.
Another government source suggested that in order to reroute the heavy traffic on the Calabar-Uyo highway from the Tinapa/Adiabo axis, Governor Bassey Otu may have started talks with contractors and necessary authorities to fix the Adiabo Bridge.
Road users claim that every day, commuters and passengers experience losses that are impossible to measure on the highway, with many drivers and passengers needing to travel longer hours or even days to reach their destination.
Additionally, it has been alleged that criminal activity is on the deteriorating Odukpani axis of the federal highway connecting Calabar and Uyo.