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Lagos: Estate residents, business owners lament locking of street gates

By Eniola Daniel
18 October 2022   |   4:06 am
Crisis is brewing among residents, business owners and management of Bosun Adekoya Estate in Victoria Island over locking of the estate’s main gate for five months.

Bosun Adekoya Estate main gate: PHOTO: ENIOLA DANIEL

Crisis is brewing among residents, business owners and management of Bosun Adekoya Estate in Victoria Island over the locking of the estate’s main gate for five months.

The Guardian learnt that the action was against government directives on the locking of street gates and the interests of business owners and residents.

The residents claimed that the chairman of the estate,  Dr Olushola  Osho, acted without the consent of all the landlords in the Estate.

Before now, many street gates in the state were deliberately locked just to prevent others from using the roads, thereby worsening traffic situations, especially in areas where such roads are meant to serve as alternative link routes.

But, to ensure free movement, the state, in 2016 and 2020, ordered the immediate re-opening of all street gates and barricades between 5:00 a.m. and 12 midnight. It also warned that gates in default of the arrangement would be pulled down.

The government claimed that there have been situations where firefighters and police were prevented from getting to scenes on time due to street gates and barricades as well as instances where patients in emergencies die without accessing hospitals because of locked street gates.

A resident, identified simply as John, claimed that the gate to two streets, George Omonubi Street and the one connecting to Bosun Adekoya had been locked permanently.

He said: “Before the gate of Bosun Adekoya was permanently locked on April 23, 2022, residents and visitors to Bosun Adekoya Estate go through Water Corporation Road, stopped around the Oniru Mosque and drive or walk into the street, but since the gate was locked, they have to walk about 30 minutes to access the estate.”

Also, The Guardian observed a banner on the gate to Bosun Adekoya, where the management stated that residents driving into the estate will be granted access upon inspection, but the current situation contradicts what was stated.

A business owner said: “We have written to the Lagos State government and we have been waiting for them to act. The Lagos State government created alternate routes to reduce traffic on the road, but some estates have decided to mount gates and close access to the alternatives. The government is doing a lot to reduce traffic logjam, but some estates are personalising the road and it’s affecting a lot of businesses.

“The Estate chairman is making all the decisions, he blocked three gates, the one that leads to Ebeano, Hakeem Dickson, in fact, the person Hakeem Dickson street is named after is an ex-Lagos State official, and he’s angry with the situation.”

Responding, an official of the estate, who pleaded anonymity, said: “There is a lot of insecurity in the country. There is insecurity around the estate. There is a ghetto behind where we are and it harbours a lot of criminals. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) was there before and there was a shoot-out between hoodlums and NDLEA officials.

“There are all kinds of things going on in the market. It harbours all sorts of people. So, we have had a lot of break-ins into the estate. There is one particular person that was robbed seven times in one year near the gate. The robbers either enter through the market or the ghetto and nobody can find them. All we want is a single point of entry and exits like Banana Island and other estates.

“So, after many threats, we decided to shut the gate and the day we shut it, there were over 300 pedestrians waiting to enter the estate, whereas we have far less than the number of persons residing in the estate.

“The area is strictly residential, but it has been infiltrated by businesses and they brought in unwanted elements. Nobody is coming to our rescue. So, we had no option but to lock the gates.

“We have applied to the Lagos State government to enforce the one-way principle and we are waiting for feedback. People that came to you to complain are not even living in the estate, but want to dictate to the residents who make up 90 per cent of the people in the estate. If they want to take us on, we will take them off there.

“The Lagos State government only served us once and came another time for a different purpose and not to serve us. So, we have not been served three times.”

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