Papalanto: Motorists Decry State Of Road
THE Papalanto/Sagamu express road in Ogun State is a popular link-road that directly connects the Agege/Motor road with the Lagos-Ibadan and Ijebu-Ode/Benin expressway.
Its preference over Lagos route, especially for people living in Sango/Ifo axis, stems from the fact that the route is short, time saving and less congested.
Sadly, however, it is one of the Federal roads in the state that has not been maintained by government and has, therefore, turned to a dead trap and robbers den.
Presently, the road has become a nightmare for motorists, who daily groan under untold hardship caused by some failed sections of the road in the last few years.
Though the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) rehabilitated it last year, but the sight that greeted The Guardian few weeks ago was contrary to the usual picture of what the area used to be, as the long stretch of road looked almost deserted.
The once boisterous road has turned into a death trap, leading to desertion and an increase in transport fare. A journey via the route could be likened to a ride through hell. The road is riddled with potholes and craters. Its sorry state is getting worsened with the rain, as vehicles are getting stuck and the road becoming impassable for motorists.
Often times, motorists waste precious man-hours and tumble or cause accidents, while trying to dodge deadly potholes. The journey to the express, which should not take more than an hour under normal circumstances, takes at least three hours or more.
Many of the road users from Agbado, Sango, Abule-Egba, Ilaro, Ifo, Itori and other neighbouring cities, who had chosen the route due to its proximity to the main express, had abandoned it for Abeokuta/Kobape and other routes that are more motorable, despite the inconvenience of the distance.
A tour of the road from Papalanto junction on the Lagos/Abeokuta express road through Olorunsogo Hydro Power Station, Ofada and Mokoloki junctions to the Sagamu by-pass, exposes dangerous ditches and craters that claimed lives in recent accidents. In the past four years, it has been tales of woe, pain, agony and total neglect for residents of the area, with the number of casualties rising by the day.
There are several gullies sitting comfortably in the middle of the road, which could be mistaken for fishponds.
Sadly, Police officials and soldiers drafted to the route to curb incidents of robbery have converted it to checkpoints to extort money from commuter bus drivers and others.
Though the one lying directly opposite the Power Station has been filled, cement-carrying trucks that ply the road daily have dug new ones. The unfortunate reality is that armed robbers now lay siege to the road at areas where there are car-wrecking potholes that would halt vehicles by all means. Worshippers of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), who ply the route for their monthly Holy Ghost Service, had tales of woe to tell.
It is surprising that such a road that links many villages, where farmers take their goods to market, has no single street light from the road to the by-pass, which has aided the activities of robbers that mostly perpetuate their acts under the cover of darkness. It should also be noted that there is no drainage system to channel erosion water, which has really become an albatross to the road.
Akeem Raheem, a commuter driver told The Guardian that he is constantly spending a lot of money on repairs of his vehicle because of the state of the road. He explained that for now, he prefers to take the Abeokuta route because the road has turned from bad to worse in the last four months.
He stated that the transport fare in the area was jerked up due to the agony that arises from plying the road and damages done to their vehicles by the bad road, adding that there have been constant motor accidents caused by careless drivers.
A farmer, who gave his name as Joseph, appealed to the Federal Government to revisit the issue of the road and save lives of people dying daily from fatal accidents caused by the bad spots.
Engr. Alexander Mazoya, the FERMA boss in the state told The Guardian that there is an existing contract on the road and the contractors would soon go back to the road to put it in good shape. He added that the agency is getting in touch with them and soon the road will wear a new look.