The wedding on Saturday, December 28, 2019 involving two children of the Managing Director, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Kyari Mele, recorded an unprecedented first as about 46 aircraft, most of them private, landed at the Maiduguri International Airport. It is on record that the airport has never recorded more than the landing of five aircraft before. The wedding paralysed social and economic activities in the city as police barricaded major highways leaving a bitter taste in the mouth of commuters.
The wedding, which turned out to be the biggest social event so far held in the state this year, drew guests from across Nigeria.
But the event turned out to be a nightmare for motorists and locals in the state who woke up to see armed security personnel barricading roads in strategic locations in the state capital.
The police had on Tuesday issued a statement that they would be blocking routes on Saturday for federal government functionaries visiting the state.
The statement, signed by police spokesperson in the state, Edet Okon, did not state the nature of the visit of the functionaries.
Mr Okon, a deputy superintendent of police, said in the statement that the roads were closed for security purposes.
“This is to inform the general public that, owing to the expected visit of Federal Government functionaries and other dignitaries to the State, the following roads will be partially and temporarily closed to traffic on Saturday, 28th December 2019.”
He went on to list how each of the major routes leading from the airport to different locations would be shut down till the guest leave.
“One lane of Mai Ibrahim road and Shehu Laminu way (Polo Road)– particularly the right lane from Horseman Roundabout to the Government House.
“Also, there will be road diversion at Horseman Roundabout, Damboa Road Junction along Mai Ibrahim Road, Bolori Roundabout and at Dandal Police Station; while the West-End part of the UBA roundabout will be completely closed.
“To this end, motorists are advised to stick to the lane that will be open to traffic or to explore alternative routes for the period that the temporary closure will be in force.”
The development caused a lot of discomfort to road users especially those out to attend other events.
On a normal day, Maiduguri records a high rate of vehicular movements due to the large presence of displaced persons from various parts of the state.
The development stirred public anger in the state capital as many residents took to social media to vent their frustration.