Boat passengers travelling from Calabar in Cross River State to Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom State, have lamented that the transport costs have become way too high for them.
It is suspected that the astronomical increase is a result of passenger traffic on that water route due to the very bad state of the Calabar-Uyo federal highway which has been very bad in the last many years.
Boat services have reportedly increased with more travellers to Akwa Ibom, Abia and adjoining states patronising watercraft services following the deplorable nature of the Calabar-Uyo federal highway, amid surging crimes on the seas, especially around the Calabar/Marina beach, Oron beach and Creek Town and Adiabo beaches.
Two passengers travelling to Uyo through the Oron waterway, Priscilla Akpan and Fidelis Umoh, both low-income earners, disclosed that the fares have been doubled.
They said a trip from Calabar to Oron in Akwa Ibom State, for instance, now costs ₦6,000 from ₦3,000.
Umoh said a ferry to Creek Town or Adiabo beaches, a few communities from Calabar, goes for between ₦3,000 to ₦4,000 depending on the time. This is from ₦1,000 to ₦2,000 initially charged passengers.
He said, “Cargo ferries charge extra fares for loads. Passengers accessing Okurikang, and adjoining areas by water pay more from the Adiabo or Creek Town beaches as they are compelled to use a motorcycle.
“The distance between Adiabo or Creek Town beaches to Okurikang is about 200 kilometres and motorcycle owners charge between ₦1000 to ₦1,500.”
Reliable sources disclosed that the State Government might contemplate fixing the Adiabo Bridge which was abandoned many years ago during the late General Sani Abacha regime in order to ease the difficulty experienced by commuters on the deplorable Calabar-Itu federal highway.
Another government source hinted that Governor Bassey Otu may have commenced discussions with relevant authorities and contractors to fix the Adiabo Bridge so as to divert the heavy traffic on the Calabar-Uyo highway from the Tinapa/Adiabo axis.
According to road users, commuters/passengers have suffered losses in unquantifiable terms along the highway each day with many motorists and passengers spending longer hours and days before getting to their destination.
Criminal activities have also been reported to be on the increase on the deplorable Odukpani axis of the Calabar-Uyo federal highway.
Lives have also been lost on the road.