In what could be described as the mother of all protests in Imo State, commercial and vehicular activities in Owerri were grounded to a halt Wednesday when over 1000 physically-challenged people protested alleged neglect by Governor Rochas Okorocha.
The protest reportedly claimed the life of an accident victim who could not be taken to the hospital because of traffic gridlock on every road in the capital city.
This came less than 24 hours after members of the Imo Youth Engineer Corps(IYEC) blocked the main entrance to the State government in Owerri in protest of alleged non-fulfilment of the agreement reached with the governor in 2012 when the corps was established, alleging that Okorocha deceived them into believing that they would be given employment after their training without any job.
The physically-challenged persons blocked the Warehouse Round-About, thereby holding all vehicles to a stand still and preventing any movement.
Even the presence of the state commissioner of police, Katsina Muhammad, and some military men could not open the roads.
Consequently, all vehicles travelling to or coming from Onitsha, PortHarcourt, Orlu or Lagos had to go through Concorde/Akanchawa Road, thus resulting to a more long serpentine gridlock.
The protesting disabled persons who came out with their wheelchairs and walking sticks, bore placards with various inscriptions to drive home their grievances.
Speaking to the commissioner of police, the state president of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disability(JONAPWD), Dr. Stanley Nwachukwu, accused Governor of making so much promises to them without fulfilling any of them.
He recalled that the governor promised to employ their members into the state civil service in 2011 but was yet to do so, adding that Governor Okorocha was yet to appoint a disabled person into his cabinet as he promised them last year.
Dr. Nwachukwu also accused the governor of deceiving them into believing in him as their mesiah without him paying them their monthly subvention, saying the had all agreed to block the roads for five days if the governor failed to come and address their grievances.
Responding, the commissioner of police appealed to them to come out of the sun and heat and send some serpentatives to discuss with the governor.
The protesters however refused, saying that the governor would deceive them as usual by giving one of them appointment while the rest of them would suffer.
Meanwhile, an accident victim was said to have lost his life following the incident.
According to sources, the accident which occured on Aba involving a car and tricycle(keke), saw the keke operator badly wounded.
But trouble was said to have occured when as a result of the traffic gridlock in owerri, no space was found to take him to the hospital, leading to his death.
In another development, the protesting IYEC members who took to the streets of Owerri on Tuesday, accused the governor of converting them to ordinary labourers at construction sites in the guise of attaching them to local contractors.
This, According to the IYEC spokesman, Mr Lyrian Adimora, was after they had acquired additional training as graduate Engineers.
He also accused the governor of not paying them the agreed stipend since the last six months