Lagos infrastructure scorecard in last three years
Amid the challenges typical of a 20 million-plus population city in a third world country, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu came to office in May 2019 with the pledge to turn the corner on the infrastructural deficit. It was an ambitious promise that was soon dazed by unforeseen challenges that are potent enough to unsettle even the most prepared for the job. But most remarkable about the Sanwo-Olu administration is the tenacity and consistency to keep turning the wheel of development, come what may. And three years down the line, he has a scorecard of excellence to show for his efforts, though the desired finish line is still miles ahead.
Just over four months after he was sworn into office as Lagos State Governor in 2019, Mr. Governor faced a dilemma: seemingly unexplained traffic choking the city and slowing down business mobility, apart from making life hellish for commuters. The state traced the root of the problem and, on October 13, 2019, Sanwo-Olu announced the solution. Eight months earlier, and three months before Sanwo-Olu assumed office, a report by a non-governmental organisation surfaced showing worrying data about one aspect of infrastructure in the ‘Centre of Excellence’.
In February 2019, Tracka, a subsidiary of BudgIT, published a report revealing that out of 175 roads former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode pledged to complete before the end of his tenure, only 54 had been completed as of February 2019. An excess of 74 of those roads, Tracka claimed, were abandoned. “Aside from abandoned roads, some projects have been left off worse than they actually were before the intervention, making life harder for commuters and members of the community. A typical case is Ayilara Street in Surulere LGA.
Indeed, these critical state roads, and several others owned by the Federal Government, had fallen into disrepair across the length and breadth of the state, during the immediately preceding administration. Compounded by the persistent downpour, the bad roads had made users experience a painful disaster. Some of the affected roads included the Ojota stretch of the Ikorodu Road, Motorways-Kudirat Abiola Way, Apogbon highway, Babs Animashaun Road, Agric/Ishawo and Ijede roads in Ikorodu, and the Lekki-Epe expressway from Abraham Adesanya to Eleko junction, among others.
Sanwo-Olu identified these bad roads as the major cause of the problem of traffic lock jams, and, on October 13, 2019, declared a state of emergency. The governor engaged eight construction firms to immediately begin work on fixing the roads “considered critical to the reduction of traffic congestion in the state”. He added that while the highways were being renovated, the Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC) would be carrying out repairs to 116 inner roads across the state. Over two years later, most of those traffic jam hotspots have all but disappeared, while more roads have been completed and commissioned.
According to data published on the Lagos State Government Official Website in April 2022, the roads include 34 roads at Kosofe, Somolu, Victoria Island and Ikoyi, a 384-capacity multi-level car park at Onikan, three networks of roads at Oniru, Victoria Island (Adeola Hopewell, Idowu Taylor and Afribank/Churchgate Streets), Ikoyi network of roads – Mac Donald road/Lateef Jakande Roads, Milverton Road and Thompson Avenue in Ikoyi, Eti-Osa Local Government as well as the Ijede Road Phase 1 in Ikorodu.
Others were the 1.4 km flyover and dual carriageway Pen-Cinema Bridge, Agege; Tedi-Muwo Link Bridge, Lagos-Ogun boundary roads in Alimosho and Agbado-Oke–Odo access roads. They also include 31 networks of roads in Ojokoro Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Completed and commissioned the 13.68 kilometers Oshodi-Abule-Egba BRT corridor.
The data also showed that the state reconfigured six Junction/Roundabouts – Allen, Ikotun, Maryland, Lekki and Ajah (under Traffic Management Intervention Plan (TMIP) and did 110 palliatives and 361 sectional rehabilitations on Roads across the State, while rehabilitating 650 inner roads through the Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC).
One key road infrastructure that undoubtedly solved major traffic conflicts in Ikeja and environs as well as serves as a legacy project for the Sanwo-Olu administration was flagged off on January 27. It is the 3.89-kilometre-long Ojota-Opebi link Bridge that will open into the Ojota axis in Kosofe, taking traffic from Opebi U-turn and dropping it at Ikorodu Road via an intersection that will be constructed under Odo Iya Alaro Bridge at Mende. The road will be supported by 276 metre-long deck-on-pile bridge and 474 metre-long mechanically stabilised earth-wall approach sections.
The carriageway, which is a new connectivity, would create an easy exit for commuters leaving Ikeja-Onigbongbo axis towards Ojota and Maryland. The project was initiated to proffer a permanent solution to the inadequacies of the Opebi Link Bridge and the Opebi U-turn and to ease pressure on overburdened routes within Ikeja, with the objective to reduce travel time along the corridor. It is one of the ongoing major road projects amongst which are the Lekki-Epe Expressway, Agric-Isawo Road, Ikorodu, Bola Tinubu-Igbogbo-Imota Road, Oba Sekumade Road, Ipakodo, Ikorodu, Itamaga to Ewu Elepe town, Construction of 22 Bus Shelters and Regeneration of GRA, Ikeja.
The government is also focusing on inter-modal transportation, for instance, rail. It acquired 10-car intra-city metropolitan speed trains for the 37km Lagos Red Line project, compensated 263 residents affected by the Red Rail Line project right of way, completed the 380-metre-long sea-crossing bridge component of the Lagos Blue Line Rail spanning Mile 2 to Marina, flagged off the Lagos Red Line Rail Mass track sharing with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), on April 15, 2021. For road transportation, Sanwo-Olu launched LagRide with 1,000 units of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs), commissioned four Bus Terminals – Mafoluku, Yaba, Oyingbo and Ajah, completed 78 bus shelters/bus depots while 22 are ongoing, reconfigured 6 Junctions/Roundabouts – Allen, Ikotun, Lekki I & II, and Ajah.
What is road transport without traffic managers? To this end, the state employed 1,300 Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) officers to manage traffic and deployed traffic lights and CCTV cameras in strategic places in the State. The state also delivered 14 new BRT stations, launched 500 units of First and Last Mile (FLM) buses as alternative means of transportation in addressing the security threat constituted by commercial motorcycles, popularly known as ‘okada’, and injected 560 high-medium capacity buses for standard routes.
For water, LAGFERRY now operates on 21 boats, eight of which were inaugurated by the governor on 6th February 2020, while 7 new ones were added to the fleet on June 22nd, 2021. These resulted in LAGFERR ferrying over 500,000 passengers between February 2020 and March 2022 and moving 41,040 trucks from Mile 2 terminal between January and December 2020 while creating 284 jobs. The information also showed that the state has in the last three years constructed or is constructing several jetties, including the ones at Apa, Badagry, Isalu, Ajido, Badagry; Ilado Amuwo Odofin, Ilashe, Amuwo-Odofin, Ito Omu Epe, Offin, Ikorodu, Takwa Bay Eti Osa, among others.
Nigerians, who grew up in and around Lagos Island before independence as well as in the 60s and 70s, would recall the term ‘baby factory’ with nostalgia. It was their affectionate name for the famous building on Lagos Island where many of them were born: the Massey Children’s Hospital, Governor Sanwo-Olu on April 28, 2021 flagged off the reconstruction of Massey Children’s Hospital, to become a 150-bed specialist hospital and the biggest Children’s Hospital in Sub-Saharan Africa when completed. These and many others are part of the state’s health sector plans.
The Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) also inaugurated new centres at Ikorodu, Ikotun and Epe. The state said 563,210 Lagosians have been covered under the Health Insurance Scheme, adding that it had established 10 Triage and Oxygen centres, completed and commissioned Mother and Child Center (MCC), Epe. Eti-Osa Mother and Child Center (MCC), Ajah, among others, while comprehensive renovation of public health facilities are ongoing at Ebute-Meta and Harvey Road Health Centre, General Hospital, Odan and Isolo, Infectious Disease Centre, Yaba, among others. Other health projects include activating one Oxygen Plant at Yaba for COVID-19, 10 Tri and Oxygen Centres, while 1,417 residents successfully had pediatric eye surgery, adult eye surgery, pediatric surgery, dental surgery, orthopaedic surgery and Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgery through the initiative.
The justice sector was not left out. The administration identified its strides to include the completion of three Police Posts in Ise, Elemoro and Ilashe, Christopher Olatunde Segun High and Magistrate Courthouse, Badore, Ajah, provision of a standard Police interview room with recording equipment at the Lagos State Police Command, Ikeja, construction of Combined High/Magistrate Courts, Igando and Imota, as well as the establishment of Forensic Toxicology and Chemistry Section and Enhancement of Security and other sections of Lagos State DNA & Forensic Centre: Phase 2 by Turnkey Project.
The state witnessed an unprecedented security challenge during the anti-SARS brutality protests of 2020, which resulted in the destruction of public and private property, including 27 police stations, and the Igbosere High Court, among others running into N1 trillion worth of damages statewide. However, the state seems to be restoring the lost infrastructure slowly, enforcing law and order and restoring confidence in law enforcement. These days, not a day goes by without law enforcement agencies in Lagos, particularly the police and the Special Task Force announcing arrests of suspects. Their efforts have largely been enhanced by donations of security equipment by the Sanwo-Olu administration.
Specifically, Sanwo-Olu on June 10, 2021, donated 150 vehicles, four high-capacity troop carriers, 30 patrol cars, and two anti-riot water cannon vehicles to the police as part of efforts to strengthen security responses across the State. President Muhammadu Buhari, who was visiting the state, personally took inventory and commissioned the security equipment. As of April this year, the state said it had donated security equipment worth billions of naira to the police, including 180 patrol vehicles, 200 patrol motorcycles, four high-capacity troop carriers, two anti-riot canon vehicles, 1,000 security gadgets and commissioned the Emergency Security Regional Centre, Epe, among others.
To help boost residents’ livelihood and businesses, the administration said 1,050 rural women received intensive training in boosting outputs in agricultural production and the beneficiaries were given equal access to markets. The state also supported 2,704 residents whose means of livelihood were disrupted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, supported 18 outstanding students from the Skill Acquisition Centres with N100,000 each in 2019 and rescued 48,000 households from poverty through various social intervention programmes under which women got cash transfers and acquired skills.
Added to this were the Medium and Small Scale Enterprises (MSME) Programmes of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), under which the state-supported 3,673 businesses with N1.156 billion, backed 1,835 businesses with N939.97 million and saved 10,005 direct jobs, 40,020 indirect jobs via the MSME Recovery Fund, an intervention programme to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and End SARS protests on businesses, initiated the N5billion EduFund in partnership with First Bank and EdFin MFB, set up an N1 billion fund targeted at businesses in the tourism, hospitality, entertainment, arts and culture sectors – both loans and grants and introduced an N1billion Agriculture Value Chain Fund targeted at businesses that operate within the Agric value chain among others.