Ajegunle: Residents decry deplorable access road, as nobody takes responsibility
Residents of Ajegunle in Ajeromi/Ifelodun Local Council of Lagos State, and its environs are lamenting the deplorable state of Otto Wharf Road, a major access road to their community.
The pathetic condition of the road has made movement an uphill task, for both motorists and pedestrians accessing, or departing the community.As a result of the deteriorating state of the road, residents of the community, as a way of helping themselves, fill the bad portions with sand and gravels. But that obviously proves to be of little or no consequence, as whenever there is a heavy downpour, rainwater washes away the materials from the filled portions, returning the road to its largely impassable state.
Some residents of area told The Guardian that the condition of the road has been worsening since 1996, with nobody taking responsibility. While commercial bus operators complain that the deplorable state of the road apart from taking a toll on their vehicles, was also making business sloppy, commercial motorcycle operators, appear to be at the receiving end, especially during heavy downpours, where they are shunned by commuters for buses, as a way of preventing themselves from the menace posed by the flood and potholes-ravaged road.
It is not only small vehicles and motorcycles that bear the brunt of the worn out road, articulated vehicles including container-bearing trucks, are also found belly up on that road, at regular intervals, with their loads scattered all over.
It is because of this scenario that residents, who are worst hit are appealing to local and state governments to spare them the unending agony by fixing the road.Mr. Jude Nwachinemere, a resident, who has lived in the community for two decades said: “The road has been in a bad condition since I came to Ajegunle in 1996. Since then, residents have written to the local council, but they keep on promising to rehabilitate the road.
Nwachinemere said: “The poor state of the road affects the movement of vehicles coming in and those leaving Ajegunle because this is the only major road that connects us to other parts of the state. But because it is bad, commercial motorcyclists charge commuters whatever they want, and commuters have no choice.
“Many people here do not take their private vehicles to work anymore because of the bad road. And whenever it rains, people, including students would trek far distances before entering public transportation. The situation is affecting us economically. We pay land use charges, revenues and taxes to government, but now we want government to rehabilitate this road, in order to improve the economy of people living in this area.”
Muhammed Bello, a commercial bus driver in the area said they usually desilt the gutter, all in an attempt to ensure free flow of rainwater. “But there is little we can do to improve the situation except government steps in. Many people use this road to link up to Mile 2, including Lagos Island. So, it is very important that the state government should fix the road because it would benefit everybody in this community.
“We have communicated to both the local and state governments, urging them to come to our aide, but as you can see, we are yet to get a response. I have plied this route for 10 years, and I met the road in this condition, and it is getting worse because of the increasing population. Today we have almost a million people living here.”
A commercial motorcyclist, Mr. Augustine Elom, is of the view that the bad road has translated into a pathetic living condition for families of commercial transport operators in the area.
Elom said: “Our business as transporters is seriously affected this period, and we find it difficult to feed our families and pay school fees. This road has been this bad for a long time and any responsible government would have responded to the several requests that we have made so far. We have gone ahead to invite radio and television stations here, to take our message to our governments, but all these have been of no consequence. There are lots of companies that use this road, including Julius Berger Construction Company. Even officials of the local council also use this road because many of them live in Ajegunle here.”
Sole Administrator of Ajeromi/Ifelodun Local Council, Mrs. Ademola Akaba, told The Guardian on telephone that when she came into office over 100 days ago, she wrote a letter to the state government stating the condition of the road and the need to rehabilitate it.
Akaba said: “I have written to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, stating the condition of the road, and I am sure the road has been added to the list of roads the state government would rehabilitate soon, and this has to pass through the process of budgeting. I am sure government is going to fix the road because Ambode is very concerned about the road, and I believe he is going to find a permanent solution to that issue.
“I came into office about 100 days ago, and it was one of my priorities to notify the state government of the condition of the road, which I did. So, I have done my part, and the governor has sent engineers to the road to see the situation on ground.”
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