Horrible tales of Ogun border communities
As Itoki road begs for rehabilitation
For residents of Abule-Iroko, Itoki and its neighbouring border communities sharing borders with Lagos in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Council, Ogun State, the only dividends of democracy currently enjoyed in the area is neglect and total abandonment.The zone has earned for itself a sobriquet of Government Rejected Area (GRA), as it has been neglected by Ogun State and disowned by Lagos State in the area of infrastructural development.
Aside the terrible state of the road from Bible College junction, beside the moribund Gateway Hotel, Sango-Ota linking all the communities, hooliganism, robbery and other social vices have become the order of the day in the communities.The Guardian learnt that this road, which ends at the new Railway terminus on Ijoko road, along the Ota-Ijoko-Alagbole Akute expressway linking Berger on Ibadan Expressway, is a distance of approximately five km, with the population of over 350,000 people, and constructed by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
He initiated the construction to serve both economic and security needs for the people of the South West and Nigerians in the future, taking the advantage of the railway means of transportation.But despite this, the Itoki road is the only accessible road serving the teeming population, despite having over 200 adjoining roads within the community, that have remained untarred.
Despite being host to a gas company, jointly owned by Shell Petroleum, Nigeria Agip Oil and six residential Estates, among other developmental projects located there; there is no bank and no Police station, just because of the bad state of the road.Economic and social life of people in the area is in comatose, as they have no access to Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Micro Credits from banks and government intervention funds.
When The Guardian visited the area a week ago, it was discovered that the area had been neglected for a very long time, and denied the necessary infrastructure enjoyed by their neighbours living in Lagos side of the region.The road had various sizes of potholes and craters, forcing most car owners to abandon their cars at home due to their daily unpalatable experiences. Sadly, a section of the road is currently facing a facelift with the drainage system being constructed courtesy of the Lagos State government, as learnt by The Guardian.
It was learnt that the road, was the escape route through which the then Head of State Gen. Aguyi Ironsi, left for Ibadan using the railway means of transportation, during the military takeover in 1966.From the old tollgate, Sango to the overhead bridge, the road is the only get- away short distance road in the period of crisis.
It was a test case last year when the customs officers stormed Sango market, which resulted in a stampede, which grounded vehicular movement for nine hours, when motorists could not find alternative route, the road would have been of use. The Guardian learnt that a letter was written to the state governor, Ibikunle Amosun last year, but no response or intervention has been received so far.
A resident, Mr. Daniel Igbinosa Odiase, who is sad on the fate of the area, told The Guardian that based on the importance of the road, if the state gives the road priority, it would improve its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), for instance if it is constructed under a Private/Public Concession for only five.
“Based on the ongoing Railway project of the Federal Government, which has it terminus at Itoki end, if the road is constructed it will serve as access road for movement of goods into Sango, Lagos and the neighbouring countries through Idiroko-Cotonou border.
“The state can create a big market very close to the terminus or locate the Gateway Hotel purposely for sales of Agricultural produce. Prospective Agro-Allied companies could take advantage of low transportation cost by the rail system, thus having access to raw materials and establish food processing firms in Ota and other parts of Ogun State,” he said.
According to him, employment opportunities and youth restiveness, which has being the trend due to the influx of miscreants displaced from Lagos, would be reduced to the barest minimum, as youths will be meaningfully engaged during the construction of both the railway system, road project and thereafter. A commercial motorcyclist, Ayinla Kareem, who also relayed his experience on the road, said the construction of the strategic road will bring banks to address their financial needs and improve economic activities, establishment of police station, attraction for estate developers, and solution to security situation of the area, among other benefits.
Odiase appealed to the governor to embark on the reconstruction of the road,” as history and posterity will not always be forgotten.”“This road could be renamed Gen. Aguyi Iransi/Adekunle Fajuyi road and the railway terminus also named Gen. Aguyi Iransi/ Adekunle Fajuyi Terminus. This will remind us of the history of Nigeria and attract students of history to carry out more research on what happened in Nigeria during the military takeover in 1966.”
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