Abdullahi Khalid Auta, a short man with a visible leg deformity who always wears a red reflector jacket with a face cap, has long become a familiar sight as he unfailingly blows his whistle and makes animated gestures to control traffic at Aroma close to Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS), reports Alexander Johnson Adejoh.
Fides discovered that Auta, who was said to have been at his post at the Aroma junction for more than 5 months now, is a great source of amusement for local motorists, taxi drivers and people visiting the city.
He accepts tips from the grateful public and also gifts from motorists who welcome his initiative and good humour.
Auta told Fides that he started this initiative when he saw the grid lock taking place at the busy intersection, mostly at close of work. Also some motorists who spoke top Fides revealed said that Auta did indeed help prevent unnecessary holdups often caused by poor traffic management.
One shuttle bus driver, Mike Emeka, described Auta as a bundle of joy and inventive individual. ‘He could have easily sat at the intersection with a board begging for money and feeling sorry for himself, but, instead, he opted to be creative about it,’ Emeka said.
Emeka who said he passed there often, said there was never a dull moment on the road with Auta around. He said he had been amused by the way he conducted traffic and, regardless of what some motorists thought of him, Auta took his task very seriously.
‘I wish that the Anambra State Government could employ him as a traffic warden,’ he said.
Fides learnt that Auta usually arrives during the evening peak-hour traffic and stands at his post under the bridge till after the evening rush before leaving.
Fides gathered that when he initially started working at the junction, a lot of motorists did not see the point of his presence there, with some chasing him away or reporting him because they thought he was a beggar looking for trouble. But they grew used to him and started looking out for the man who either sits on the road divider or leans heavily on his movable wheelchair.