Our plight, by ‘neglected Lagos streets’ residents

The construction of the Abule-Egba Link Bridge on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway was meant to ease the perennial gridlock on the road. During the construction, vehicles were diverted to inner streets which destroyed their roads. Since then, nothing has been done to fix those roads, TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO reports.

Prior to the construction of the Abule-Egba Link Bridge on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, residents of Jibowu Road, Karimu Alabi, Adewuni Adu, Wilson Aghedo to Olaniyi and Sani Balogun streets, including a few others, enjoyed a good road network.

The residents were happy and praised the government when their roads were fixed. But, their joy was short-lived with the commencement of the construction of the bridge.

They are lamenting that the bridge which they thought would enhance their lives has become a killjoy as their streets which were in tip-top state prior to the bridge construction are now in shambles. This they claimed is taking a toll on their health and business activities.

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Lagos streets

Trouble began for the residents when gridlock continued unabated on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway in spite of the bridge. This led many motorists to resort to the inner routes to access their destinations. The heavy traffic on the road/streets which were not built for such destroyed the road network, leaving it dilapidated.

The roads became the choice of motorists as most abandoned the expressway such that even articulated vehicles also used them to access their destinations. The residents’ entreaties to contractors handling the Abule-Egba Flyover and the Lagos State government to expedite action on the major roads so that traffic would ease on the their streets fell on deaf ears.

After many appeals, the attention of the then Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, was drawn to the dilapidated roads.

While inaugurating the bridge for use on May 17, 2017, Ambode assured that the roads damaged in the course of constructing the bridge would be fixed. He added that contracts for their rehabilitation had been awarded.

According to some residents, a few weeks after, contractors moved to site to begin rehabilitation work on some roads between Aderupoko and Ahmadiyah in Abule-Egba. But, unfortunately, the contractors did not work on Jibowu Road, Karimu Alabi, Adewuni Adu, Wilson Aghedo to Olaniyi and Sani Balogun streets, among others.

Lamenting the sorry state of the roads, the Baale of Ilupeju Titun, Chief Adeleye Zacchaeus, said residents were suffering indescribable hardship. He said the community had appealed to the Ojokoro Local Council Development Area (LCDA) to come to its aid. But the council said the roads were state roads; hence, it could not fix them due to lack of funds.

Zacchaeus further said the roads were becoming more dilapidated because of the rains.

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“The rains have worsened the situation. The roads are getting worse and if the government did not act urgently to fix them, they could get to a level where it would be impossible for vehicular movements,” he said.

According to him, the road network was done during former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola-led administration.

“I was among the committee members selected to advise the government on alternative routes from Abule-Egba to Toll Gate. It was during the time of Fashola that the roads were constructed. They were done to link roads in Abule-Egba to Toll Gate without passing through the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway,” he said.

He said the bad roads have turned the bubbly areas into a shadow of themselves with many traders abandoning the community.

“If there are good roads, everybody will enjoy the area. Many homes  are now flooded due to the bad roads.” he said.

“The houses on Salako Close and Dayo Close linked by Olatunji Street were flooded during the rains. It was the same situation with other houses in some other areas. We really need the help of the government to save our community,” he said.

Pastor Blessing Ighodalo, a tricycle operator, said people usually got stranded any time it rained.

“The roads are so bad that vehicles and motorcycles find it difficult to navigate when it is raining. Only a few tricycle operators work. So, many people are stranded and people have to trek long distances. Those trekking to their houses are always careful not to be trapped in the flood.

“Some of our colleagues have not been working for some time because their tricycles have been damaged. Some need a lot of money to repair them. Unfortunately, there is no way to raise the fund for repairs,” Pastor Ighodalo said.

A resident of Karimu Alabi Street, Sola Olaokun, said the deplorable state of the roads had affected business activities in the area.  According to her, many shops have closed due to lack of patronage.

Lagos streets

“The shop owners paid huge money to rent those shops and invested heavily in the goods stocked in the shops, but business inactivity has led many to close their shops. In addition to inactivity, some vehicle owners hardly go out with their cars. The roads do not encourage it unless you want your car damaged. Many look for alternative means to get to their destinations,” she said.

Chairman, Ojokoro Local Council Development Area, Hammed Idowu Tijani, said the roads were not council roads.

He told The Nation that he had written to the Ministry of Works and the Office of the Governor to assist in fixing the roads. He appealed to the residents to be patient with the government.

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According to him, the funds available at the council can’t take care of the bad roads in the council.

Lagos streets

Tijjani said: “Besides, we have other projects in the areas of health and education, among others to take care of.”

But the residents disagreed with the council chairman. They described his statement as unfortunate. According to them, what does it cost the council to fix the roads.

Lagos streets

“Did he abandon these areas when canvassing our votes? While the council was collecting dues from us, our areas were not considered as state roads? Now, to fix them, they suddenly became state roads. He should stop making reckless statements and giving excuses. He was elected to perform,” Yemi Olagunju, a resident said.

Source: The Nation Online Nigeria

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