Save our souls, Ikorodu residents cry out to Ambode
As adults lamented aloud, berating the government, children cried incessantly as the heavens remained open, pouring rain and making a bad situation even worse. The traffic stretched endlessly and even the traffic officials seemed helpless as to what to do to alleviate the situation.
The 25-kilometre Odongunyan-Ogijo-Sagamu road has remained an eyesore and an albatross for several years now and seems to defy all human solutions. This road, the first major expressway that linked Lagos State, the commercial nerve of the nation, to other states and indeed, other West Africa countries, has become a shadow of its former self. Degenerating daily, the road is now almost impassable and the slightest rain would turn a 10 or 15-minute journey into a two-hour battle filled with sorrow, tears and regret.
Constructed in 1962 by the Western Region government, before the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was built under the military administration, the road has served as the major route from Lagos through Shagamu, Ogijo and Ikorodu.
According to a commercial driver, Sunday Buraimoh, “The road is beyond terrible. It is a lucrative route but I have to find another route, as I have become a daily visitor at the mechanic and panel beater. Because of the state of the road, we have had to increase fares and jack fares even more whenever rain falls.”
Findings show that the road was patched up a couple of years ago but has since broken down again. According to a resident, “it is only God that will judge that contractor they gave this road to. How can you build a major road without proper gutters where water would pass? I even thought they would expand the road then, but he just graded it and poured black paint and claimed he has done it. Of course, after a few months, it collapsed again and here we are, back to square one. No day passes that a trailer or tanker doesn’t fall on the road or fall on a car. The other day, the flood at Odogunyan swept away two children and they would’ve died if not for the quick intervention of some street urchins. What kind of government is this that sees people suffering and does nothing?” he lamented.
Mrs. Kehinde Adebanjo is calling on the Lagos State government to declare a state of emergency on the road as soon as possible. According to her, she is trapped at home many days because the road is impassable and she cannot commute with okada. “As I am talking to you, it is only okada that is working on the roads. Most transporters have either parked their vehicles or gone on to another route. I can’t use my car because of the flood and I cannot climb okada. The other day, Governor Ambode came to LASPOTECH for their graduation and I was happy, thinking that when he passes the road, he would see what we are going through and order it to be fixed. Sadly, nothing has been done till date and the road is getting worse. Please governor Ambode, do something and save us before we are cut off from the rest of the world,” she said.
The stretch of road is heavily commercial as it is residential as there are many major companies and institutions sited there including several metal companies, PZ Nigeria, Lagos State Polytechnic, Lagos State Farm Estate, Lagos Waste to Wealth Fertilizer Company, Larfarge Cement Company, plastic manufacturing companies, major farms, army barracks among others. Yet, the road remains neglected and dilapidated.
Describing it as a death trap, a student of Laspotech confirmed that a friend was crushed to death at Okegbegun, popularly called Laspotech Valley. The place has been responsible for so many accidents as the road dips and suddenly steeps at a weird angle, causing many articulated vehicles to roll back and crush vehicles coming behind while trying to climb the hilly part of the road. Several others have failed brake, crashing off the road into the embankments, destroying properties, yet nothing has been done. From sawmill to Agbala, the road has potholes so large that can swallow a vehicle and when it rains, the potholes are difficult to locate, entrapping many vehicles and causing serious accidents.
“From Odogunyan to PZ, Itaoluwo, Ogijo to Lukosi, many failed sections of the road is usually overtaken by flood because there are no gutters. Vehicular movements also become impossible. Many calamities befall commuters on the road as sometimes, the okada riders lose control and injure their passengers and sometimes, even Keke Napeps are overturned by the volume of the flood,” the student confirmed.
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