By Ibrahim Ikowe Jibril
The Lagos – Abeokuta Expressway is in a deplorable state and residents and commuters who ply the stretch of that road are not smiling.
From Abule-Egba U-turn to the Sango-Ota Tollgate, the road has become practically unpassable as trucks fall down at will, blocking the road for days. Malam Haruna, a driver with BHN has spent three days at Mosalasi bus stop near Oba of Alagbado’s house. He said although government has a lot of commitment but they should at least do this road so that we the road users too will be free from very bad roads like we are experiencing now.
For over a year now, motorists have been avoiding the road, preferring to make a u-turn at Abule-Egba, pass through Ekoro Road to Command and negotiate their way through new roads constructed by former governor of Lagos state, Akinwunmi Ambode, to Oju-ore, Ota.
Sango-Ota is the major industrial hub of Ogun State. It is home to several industries and also the international gateway to other West African countries starting with the Republic of Benin. Therefore, goods and services entering Nigeria from her West African neighbours, coupled with goods leaving Sango-Ota to Lagos, the West African biggest commercial city is greatly affected.
Yet, the Trunk A road, which is the responsibility of the Federal Government to maintained has been abandoned. The only sign of government presence in the stretch is the checkpoints of the Nigerian Customs, Police, Road Safety, and State officials from LASTMA. Their activities complicate the hardship of motorists on the road.
Due to the bad state of the road, economic activities for residents have become paralyzed. Street urchins cash in to torment drivers and commuters whose vehicles get stalled, or break down on the road. Transport fare has been hiked up to 300 per cent of the original cost.
Mr Anslem Umuna, a truck driver had the misfortune of having his truck involved in an accident at Mosalasi. The truck with goods fell down and it had been on the road for three days. A heavy tractor brought to lift the truck equally got stalled on the road. Owners of the goods inside the truck had no option other than to transload into another vehicle at a very exorbitant cost.
He told Gavel International about his frustrations. “Mr journalist for God sake we pay our taxes! They should use the money to fix our roads. Look at it ! See my truck upside down! The money I pay as tax is a waste, because if my tax money was used appropriately, I would’nt have spent such huge amount of money in towing and transferring of goods from my truck to the other. Pls tell President Buhari to authorize Lagos state government to do it(roads). Saying it is Federal government road is all rubbish”.
The residents of Alagbado / Abeokuta Express way, and Sango-Seme road also call on President Muhammad Buhari to as matter of urgency, direct the Ministry of Works to fix these roads that have become an everyday nightmare to motorists. Articulated vehicles fall and block the way everyday.
This has led road users to take one way from Alakuko U-turn down to Mosalasi bus stop, and then enter Oniyaomebi through Shofela /Yusuf Street. All these streets are no more motorable.
Speaking to Gavel International, Mr Clement Arenri said government shouldn’t have allowed the roads to get this bad before repairs.
He pleaded with employers to show empathy to workers living at the Meiran-Alagbado axis as they are bound to always get to the office late. “It is not easy. Even to cross to the other side by pedestrians is not funny. The road has become a refuse dump where urchins search for scrap metals to sell.
A commercial bus driver, Mr Dele Lomo whose bus broke down right in the presence of the Gavel International reporter told Mr Arenri to save his breath. He said in pidgin: “Dem no go hear. All dey sabi na to collect money from people. Agbero go collect, police go collect, custom sef go collect, even LASTMA sef. Only God fit save us from this gofment”, he concluded.