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Residents, traders turn rehabilitated Oshodi-Apapa expressway to dumpsite

By Tobi Awodipe
14 November 2021   |   3:35 am
In August, the Lagos State government unveiled 102 new trucks, and 100 bins in a move aimed at improving waste disposal in its domain.

Ilasa by Balogun Street junction

Vehicle Owners Turn Service Lanes To Mechanic Workshop

In August, the Lagos State government unveiled 102 new trucks, and 100 bins in a move aimed at improving waste disposal in its domain.

Expectedly, the move was greeted with a lot of fanfare, with residents expressing hope that their refuse disposal challenge would soon become a thing of the past.

But barely three months later, it seems the trucks and bins are yet to make their way to some areas in Mushin Local Council, including parts of the newly reconstructed Oshodi-Apapa Expressway. In fact, refuse seems to have won the battle as those doing business and living along the road have turned parts of the expressway to dumpsites, and in the process clog the drainage, obstruct traffic and constitute serious health hazard to human health.

As these dumpsites continue to proliferate, trailers, tankers and sundry articulated vehicles have taken over the service lane, turning portions of it into mechanic workshop and ‘stop-over motels.’

There are fears amongst road users that the newly constructed road may soon become bad as the gutters are
Already, as a consequent of the blocked drainage, floodwater now flows onto the road when there is a downpour.
At almost all the bus stops along the expressway, the stretch of drainage around them are filled with refuse that spill onto the road. Once in a while, the refuse heaps are set on fire to decongest the gutters and the road, and burning of refuse in the drainage is beginning to take a toll on the road.

Two months ago, fire was set to the refuse at Five Star Bus Stop and it was on for days before it was finally put out. Today, that part of the gutter appears distressed and damaged. Nobody took responsibility for that action.
A trader along the road who simply identified herself as Peace, denied that those trading around the bus stops were responsible for the improper disposal of refuse there. She claimed that unknown persons were the ones dumping the refuse overnight.
“We don’t put refuse there. We have a central dustbin, which we all use, and we pay between N100 and N200 for refuse collection and disposal. The refuse that you see here are dumped by unknown individuals who don’t want to pay refuse bills to the market,” Peace said.

But her claim was dismissed by a commercial tricycle operator plying the Five Star Bus Stop and its environs. The man, who spoke on condition of anonymity, alleged that it was the traders that were dumping refuse inside the drainage, adding that efforts to stop them had failed.
At Sadiku and Hassan junctions, around the Ilasa axis, where huge heaps of refuse welcome road users and passersby, it was gathered that residents of the area were the ones dumping the refuse at the junction, not minding the hazard and nuisance that doing so constitutes. Refuse are also abandoned in the gutter just under the pedestrian bridge.

The same situation obtains at Ilasa, Iyana-Itire and Barlett bus stops, as refuse litter the service lane and the newly installed gutter covers.

A resident of Ilasa, Blessing Adeyemi, confirmed that residents of the area were the ones dumping refuse at the junction, but said that they indulged in the practice because refuse disposal company assigned to take care of the area works in fits and starts.

“In the past, anyone caught dumping refuse by the roadside was made to pack everything there to the front of their houses. Because of this, people stopped dumping refuse by the roadside. But ever since the LAWMA PSP workers stopped coming around regularly, people resumed dumping refuse by the roadside and have refused to stop. Another thing is that many residents around here don’t want to pay for refuse collection. A lot of them owe thousands of naira and are always having issues with the PSP company. During downpours, these people empty their dustbins into the drains, and bring the refuse to the bus stops when there are no downpours,” she said.
But the LAWMA PSP for the Ilasamaja area, Nureni Saka Enterprises, faulted Adeyemi’s claim, insisting that their operatives are always on hand to discharge their function, except when there was a major problem.
Head of the outfit, Nureni Saka, told The Guardian that he was yet to see any refuse by the roadside because they are promptly cleared, stressing that the residents could bear them witness that they were alive to their responsibilities.

On the allegation that the company was doing skeletal job because it was being owed refuse collection fee, Saka said they would not allow that to deter them from doing their job, and even if the firm had issues regarding payment, it would resolve it amicably without abandoning its responsibility.
“I am very sure that if you go to anywhere around this Ilasamaja axis, you would not see any refuse because we go out every other day to clear them. If you see any refuse anywhere in this axis, snap it and send the picture to me on Whatsapp and we would swing into action,” he said.

His claim, however, runs contrary to what The Guardian found on ground on a visit to affected spots on Thursday and Friday, where the dumpsites were still brimming.
Besides the mounting refuse heaps, the activities of tanker drivers and that of other articulated vehicles is also very worrisome, as they have taken over the service lane of the expressway, from the NAFDAC Headquarters, down to Sadiku junction and beyond.

Where they are not repairing their vehicles, they are simply parked waiting for their turn to either load, or offload goods into hordes of warehouses within the area.

For most part of the day, these parked trucks reduced the service lane to a single-lane track thereby making overtaking almost impossible, and raising the chances of needless gridlock.
A road user, Moses Ayeni, expressed regret that articulated vehicles drivers have been left to do whatever they like, a development that was causing pains and agony to other road users.

“Most evenings, accessing the Iyana-Isolo bridge, or even going beyond the bus stop from the Ilasamaja end is an arduous task as the service lane is usually taken over by articulated vehicles. Most times, we have to abandon the road for them and go through Anthony to connect to the other side of the expressway, or face one-way. It is worse now that the airport’s link bridge has been closed for repairs since January. We are practically at their mercy. Apart from the fact that the road is being damaged by the activities of these drivers, their presence there poses a huge security risk to other road users because those traffic robbers usually seize the opportunity to rob as motorists are stuck in traffic. I am calling on the government to get them off the road as soon as possible, those vehicles should not be parked on the expressway because they constitute a nuisance to other road users,” Ayeni said.
One of the drivers who parked his truck at Iyana-Isolo, absolved himself and colleagues of any blame insisting that they have nowhere to park.

“I am waiting to be called to load goods. Where am I supposed to stay again? Besides, if the truck has any issue, should I not try to fix it before moving it?” 
The Chairman of the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences Unit (Task Force), Shola Jejeloye, said they were not unaware of the activities of the drivers on the highway, adding that they were working hard to get them off the road as soon as possible.
He said that his unit was working with the Ministry of Transportation to make articulated vehicles comply with laid down road regulations and stop indiscriminate parking and conversion of the roadside to mechanic workshops.

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