BROKEN PARADISE: POPULAR IBOM PLAZA IN AKWA IBOM STATE GRADUALLY TRANSFORMING INTO A NIGHTMARE

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Secret Reporters

It is not a fallacy that anything beautiful has the tendency of transforming into a shadow of itself if the necessary maintenance structure is not put in place to sustain its glow. Akwa Ibom State is an exact epitome of this as investigation reveals that as beautiful as this supposed paradise may appear in the day, its capital city; Uyo transforms into a monster at night as report shows that the good, the bad and the ugly forms an alliance at the very popular and ever-bustling area called “Plaza” which surprisingly stands at the centre of the city.

Investigations by SecretReporters reveal that from the design of the city specifically around the Plaza area, traffic jam is supposed to be at its minimal. However, bus drivers who are impatient and desperate to get passengers, park indiscriminately not minding if they are on the road, creating an artificial gridlock leaving other road users with no option but to suffer for their misdeeds. In the midst of this, any motorist or pedestrian who feels aggrieved and tries to speak to these usually angry drivers are rained with insults.

Our reporter also gathered that men of the “Akwa Ibom State task force” who usually appear in ash and black uniforms run after buses along the road not minding the safety of other road users. It is alleged that these task force agents demand all sort of bribes from drivers before they are allowed to carry passengers at certain points around Plaza axis while those who refuse to pay are forcefully taken to their station at Ikot Ekpene road as traffic offenders.

Keke drivers are not left out of what appears to be a march towards achieving a monstrous city as they are no doubt professionals when it comes to indiscriminate parking and the main causative agents of the traffic jam at the ever popular market located at Etuk Street along the Aka road axis of Plaza.

While speaking to some Keke operators as well as shop owners about the man-made traffic Jam around the Udi street axis of Plaza SecretReporters gathered that the traffic police and task force stationed around the area to ensure law and order were only interested in the N50 they collect from them and bus drivers hence, however, and wherever they park no longer becomes an issue which further compounds the traffic problem in the area.

It was also gathered that a more prevalent situation is the menace of night traders in the area which stretches from Access bank Aka road to the University of Uyo second gate as they usually begin displaying their wares from 5 pm. The presence of these traders in itself does not appear to give a bad picture of the area however, this trading activity usually brings with it miscreants and certain unscrupulous elements who carry out criminal activities ranging from bags snatching, harassment of ladies walking around the area as well as using voodoo to dupe buyers.

A victim who spoke to our reporter disclosed that “I bought a pair of shoe for N1500, as I was about leaving the shop I was accosted by a guy who was in the shop saying that I need to put pins on the shoe to ensure durability. I actually thought it was a value-added service but after adding about twenty pins onto a small shoe, he asked for N3000 as payment for the pins and his service. I had to pay immediately as he threatened to use charm to paralyze my legs if I dare walk away without paying him” she lamented.

Furthermore, a rather strange situation is that there is usually no form of security presence around the Plaza area from about 5 pm making the area look like a “no man`s land” and a free for all show for miscreants. This has left pedestrians and commuters who will inevitably pass through Plaza at night especially young ladies to do everything they can to pass through the monstrous area before nightfall.

There are silent cries by Akwa Ibomites especially residents of Uyo to the state government to immediately expedite actions to checkmate the evil trend before it further deteriorates into a full-fledged nightmare.

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