Lagos ministry, LAMATA shift blame over abandoned road, drainage construction
Residents and investors along the Lekki/Ajah corridor beside the Jubilee Flyover in Lagos State are beginning to wonder which of the two-state parastatals between the Ministry of Works and the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), is responsible for planning, implementing, regulating and franchising public transport infrastructure and operations in the state.
Their dilemma arises from the confusion and denial of responsibility that the construction of Nepa Road and its drainage has caused. In particular, those living in Thomas, Victory, Divine and other residential estates within the area and those whose businesses, like shopping plazas and other multi-million naira investments are located on Nepa Road as well as motorists whom the road serve as the easiest route to connect to their homes have raised the alarm that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, should urgently come to their aid by directing either the ministry or LAMATA to resume work on the road and drainage as soon as possible.
One of the residents appealed to Sanwo-Olu to either come to the site to verify or if necessary send a delegate to inspect “how LAMATA or the ministry has deliberately abandoned Nepa Road despite governor’s directives that contractors should return to site at all abandoned projects in the state.”
A curious aspect of the matter came to head when The Guardian moves to verify the allegation that LAMATA, which was accused of not doing what it was supposed to despite the fact that it has since commenced work on the abandoned BRT terminal and the two pedestrian bridges on both ends of the flyover, denied that the authority had anything to do with Nepa Road and the drainage.
Its spokesman, Mr. Kolawole Ojelabi, urged The Guardian to direct the question on Nepa Road construction to the Ministry of Works. The same question was asked the Deputy Director of Information, Ministry of Works, Mr. Segun Ogundeji. He pleaded that he should be given some time to verify. After about one week, he responded: “Please go back to LAMATA. That is the authority in charge of the project and not the ministry.”
Further investigations revealed that either Ojelabi did not get his facts right before pushing the responsibility to the ministry or there may be more than meets the eye regarding the Nepa Road project.
For instance, majority of those who witnessed when Planet One Nigeria Ltd., started the construction of Nepa Road and its drainage insisted it was LAMATA that is in charge and part of the original design was to construct a mini BRT terminal on a portion of Nepa road to enable buses that are coming from Ajah or the ones that do u-turn at Abraham Adesanya roundabout moved into the terminal to discharge or pick passengers.
Further findings indicated that the contractor is not willing to get himself involved in the bureaucratic politics between the ministry and LAMATA, which may explain the circumstances surrounding the abandonment of the project.
A source urged the governor to investigate reasons LAMATA is dilly-dallying on the project. He said: “the unfortunate situation may have been as a result of the policy summersault that occurred towards the end of the former governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration when many things were muddled up. We wrote a lot of letters of reminder and petitions on this same road to Ambode and LAMATA but there was not a single response. We even interacted with the contractor.”
Some residents of Thomas Estate, who are equally worried by the loss of manpower due to the abandoned project and unending gridlock, called on the state government to urgently approve the construction of NEPA Road, which was originally meant to serve as an alternative route for vehicles coming from Ajah, or Ado-Badore Road to move into the estates, or the plazas.
They claimed that several letters written to the past government on the need for it to construct NEPA Road came to naught. “Miscreants, traders and tricycle operators have taken over NEPA Road, which ordinarily should have taken care of some vehicles that are heading to Ado-Badore from the Awoyaya axis, as well as those going to the estates and the plazas. Truly, if NEPA Road had been constructed when the flyover was built, it would have taken away a lot of pressure from the expressway.”
When contacted, spokesman to the governor, Mr. Ggboyega Akosile, promised to table the issue before his principal as well as the ministry to get a clearer picture. He assured all affected residents that Governor Sanwo-Olu would attend to the issue as soon as possible.
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