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Crumbling inner roads drive Lagosians to despair

By Eno-Abasi Sunday, Gbenga Salau, Paul Adunwoke, Geraldine Akutu and Adelowo Adebumiti
13 August 2017   |   4:28 am
Special Adviser to Governor Akinwumi Ambode on Public Works and Drainages, Temidayo Erinle, said the state government is well aware of the challenges being experienced by commuters on Lagos roads, but has also identified...

LASG Set To Fix 43 Roads, Drains­­­ ­­–– Erinle

Adekunle Igbasan, has been living in the Papa Ajao area of Mushin Local Council for over 15 years. When he moved into the neighourhood, it had motorable inner roads, a luxury he never enjoyed at the Igando area of the state, where he was relocating from.

As time went past, the scenario he left behind at Igando started crystalising around his new residence, as small potholes kept widening after every rainy season until they became craters, thereby leaving streets like Akinbayode, Arowoye, Dada, Oremeji, Ikale, Alhaji Amusa, Shotinoye, Ogunmekun and the rest soggy and muddy for most parts of the rainy season.

“When my friend who resides along Palm Avenue alerted me of the availability of a renovated property that was available for rent in Papa Ajao, Mushin, I initially was not interested because of Mushin’s bad reputation as a trouble spot. He convinced me that the Papa Ajao area was the ‘GRA’ part of Mushin,” Adekunle said.

“When I visited the area to inspect the house, I instantly fell in love with the place. Apart from the fenced building, which I later rented, streets within the area were smooth and the location was central to so many places one had to go to.

For Adekunle, the story is now different, especially as it concerns the inner streets. And that is why he insists that the state government’s claims of aggressively revamping roads in the state remains an academic exercise that is yet to impact citizens.

The 52-year-old is not alone in this dilema. The story is the same for Sikiri Momodu, who resides at Peace Estate, Iba, far away from Papa Ajao, in Mushin.

Momodu and many other residents of the estate over the years, are only reminded of the fact that there is a government in place, when the local council and state agents visit to enforce the payment of sundry taxes or levies.

Consequently, they are deeply pained that despite paying their taxes and levies to appropriate quarters, they hardly feel the impact of government within their community.

When The Guardian visited the community days after a heavy downpour recently, Peace Estate Phase 2 especially, was still flooded, and residents waded through stagnant water to get into their homes.

On close observation, two things were synonymous with streets like God’s Favour, Dalina Salvation Avenue, Eze Ikechukwu, Daniel Omoilu, Dada, Prince S. J Nwizu and Customs among others- they either had swathes of stagnant water or were without de-silted drainages.

Residents, who spoke with The Guardian, blamed the lack of proper channelisation of rainwater for their plight, stressing that this development, as well as the blocked drainages were the reasons the community is flooded constantly, causing gradual damage to inner streets.

According to Momodu, once it rains they are in deep trouble because the whole place gets flooded as rainwater from Barracks, Iyana-Iba and Okoko, flows into the community since the canals are not well-channeled, hence its inability to dump the rainwater into the Badore River.

According to him, the community has made efforts towards putting an end to the perennial flooding, but without success.

He noted that once the canal is properly channeled through to the Badore River, the annual flooding that has ravaged the community, and damaged streets would be a thing of the past.

General Secretary of Peace Estate Central Community Development Area, Mr. John Egbaletiwon, explained that once there is heavy downpour, going in and out of the community becomes a huge task for residents.

He said that many commercial motorcylists shun coming to the area because of the wide-spread dilapidation suffered by inner roads, which hurt their bikes severely, and force a spike in fares.

Egbaletiwon added that the area is also not attractive to tenants as reflected in the number of residents that move out as soon as the initial one-year rent, which they paid expires. This, he said, is the reason why a number of apartments within the area were unoccupied.

Like Momodu, he believes that once the canal if properly channeled to empty its contents into Badore River, the yearly flooding will end, and streets spared the ravage.

Chairman, Peace Estate, Phase 2, Community Development Area, Alhaji Musa Seriki, who spoke in similar vein said constant flooding in the area has continued to worsen the pathetic state of roads in the community. This development, he said was negatively affecting the economic life of the community.

He reminded the state government of its promises to fix the worn-out roads and address the water channelisation problem, adding that
some landlords have already been forced to look for alternative accommodation outside the community, as a result of the prevailing condition.

In Alimosho Local Council, streets like Olusegun Ogunseye, Agric, Modinat, Church and Akinogun, stand out as sore thumbs, as they are usually mud-ladden and not motorable once there is a downpour.

Olusegun Ogunseye Street particularly is usually flooded due to lack of drainage. Those staying at the tail end of it are worst hit as the heap of red earth in the middle of the street deflects rainwater into their homes, thereby further complicating issues for them.

A resident who felt disturbed by this development, petitioned the state government, but nothing came out of it. Also in the category of dilapidated inner roads are Adeshina Street, Ashimohun Bakare Street, and Mutairu Onigbanjo Street, all in Ijesha, Mushin Local Council. They are all potholes ridden and leave their residents wondering whether they would ever get value for the taxes they pay to government.

In the Ikorodu area of the state, inner roads like Sunday Ola-Balogun, in Parafa-Ikorodu; Otun Street, off Itokin Road; Owutu Road; Agbede Meeting Road, Ishawo Road and Lagos State Polytechnic Road are some of the roads in the area that make residents claim they have not seen anything called “dividend of democracy.”

As far as inner roads are concerned, the situation on ground there, besides being at variance with the state government’s much-touted roads improvement scheme, is a major pain in the neck of residents, who are yearning for action from those they voted into office to improve their standard of living.

Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, also has its fair share of bad inner roads. Some of the worst affected roads there include, Joe Ayika, Segun Awolowo, Jimoh Oke, and Olarewaju roads. All these are either waterlogged for most part of the rainy season, or are not motorable because of the heaps of refuse that compete for space with road users.

What is worse is that virtually all these roads have no drainages. Where there is one, it had either caved in, or is filled up with refuse.

Around Orile-Agege/Tabon-Tabon area, the following streets- Oshobu, Imashayi, Adeagbo, Babayemi and Olukosi are untarred and usually messy anytime it rains. Consequently, once this happens, commuting becomes problematic. Another street in the area, Adeyinka, which was tarred about 10 years ago, is now a shadow of its former self.

For residents of Olodi-Apapa area, Kirikiri Road, which leads to Wilmer-Boundary it is a pathetic condition, especially now that the rains are here.

It was the terrible state of the road, which has been bad for years that aided an accident involving a tanker, which fell, and spilled its content, resulting in a fire accident that burnt a bank, other buildings around it, as well as a commercial bus with passengers.

In the Amuwo-Odofin area, Fashiro, Olayemi, Saibu, Comfort, Moradeyo, Benster streets and a section of Old Ojo Road, are in a shabby state, not befitting the smart city status, Lagos State is aspiring to be.

The Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road bridge link to Mafoluku, in Oshodi Local Council, is no doubt an alternative route to the airport’s tollgate, but unfortunately, roads in this neighbourhood are in a bad state, beginning from Ajibulu to Ogunwemimo, and Abolaji streets, down to Beesam Hotel in Ewututu area of Mafoluku.

That explains why motorists and residents of the area are tasking the government to rehabilitate the roads. The residents are particularly worried by the rate of casualty arising from incessant accidents triggered by the bad state of the roads.

Tunde Olalekan, a resident, who operates transportation business around there, noted that the roads have been bad for a very long time now, and contribute immensely to traffic snarl during rush hours.

Olalekan said: “This is where we find our daily bread, but the bad state of the roads is a major source of worry for us. So, we want government to rehabilitate these roads. Doing so would go a long way in improving our businesses and the lives of people living in this area. The roads are already in very bad shape, but their conditions really depreciate whenever it rains, as they get flooded.”

Not too far from Mafoluku is Ajao Estate, where drivers and residents are pleading for urgent attention from the local and state governments in order to salvage whatever is left of the estate’s glory.

Chinedu Mbagwu, another tricycle operator, who plies Fatai Irawo Street- Ajao Estate Police Station, says the rising number of potholes on neighbourhood roads in the area have affected their business, as movement within the estate is now labourious.

He said this is one of the reasons his union often fills bad spots with stones and gravels, in order to make the roads easily navigable by them and other road users.

Mbagwu said: “A few years ago, we used to move freely around here, but now emerging potholes delay our swift operations. So, a journey that should last for 10 minutes now takes more than 30 minutes. In those days, we used to charge N70 from Ajao Estate Junction down to the Bridge link (canoe), but now it has been increased to N100 because of the bad condition of the roads.”

Chairman, Community Development Association (CDA), Ajao Estate, Elder Francis Makinde, disclosed that residents have on several occasions written letters to the local council and Lagos State governments informing them of the bad state of inner roads in the estate, but nothing has been done.

Makinde said: “When Governor Akinwumi Ambode listed 114 roads to be constructed in Lagos, one of our roads here was among, but we were later denied of such democracy dividend.”

He also said that community members contribute money to buy gravels and sands to fill the potholes, and also engage in the de-silting of drainages, all in an effort to make the roads better.

“What we need is for government to tar the roads for us and fix the gutters, some of which have collapsed. Streets like Stella Sholanke, Ajao Estate Police Station Road, down to Ajao Estate Bridge Link need to be worked on because they are all weak,” he said.

“We have reported the bad state of the roads to members representing us at the state House of Assembly, and the one representing us at the House Representative. The senator representing us is also aware of these roads, but nobody is saying anything.

“We want to state here that we have not benefited from the dividend of democracy even though the people who live here pay their taxes into the coffers of Lagos State government,” Makinde said.

Former sole Administrator, Isolo Local Council Development Area, Ms. Abimbola Osikoya, blamed the council’s inability to complete the roads rehabilitation it started earlier in the year on insufficient allocation coming to the council.

Osikoya said: “We do not have enough money hence our decision to be doing the road rehabilitation little by little. We have been doing our best to ensure that these potholes would soon been things of the past.”

“Again people should be patient enough with us because we also feel the pains that residents do. We all use these roads together, it is just because there are situations beyond our control, which is the reasons why we have not completed the roads rehabilitation that we started.”

Ken, a businessman on Community Road in Akoka, Yaba, is one of those not ready to listen to excuses from elected government officials, whom he thinks are taking the electorate for a ride, while they engange in ostentatious lifestyles.

“Politicians would always give excuses for their inability to get things done. But their salaries and allowances are never affected. Apart from this Community Road, there are other streets in this Yaba that are so bad that commercial motorcyclists, who are not very familiar with the road, always find themselves in the pool of stagnant water with their passengers. One thing that these our political leaders fail to take note of is the fact that these bad roads contribute to destroying our cars. Once this happens, we are the ones that bear the burden of fixing the cars in this hard times. As politicians, what are they really doing if they cannot fix roads, provide pipe-borne water and make electricity available?

In Isolo, streets like Adekunle Street, Lamina Lawal Street, Akinbaiye Street, Ehingbeti Street, among others are in dire need government’s attention.

Because they are in very bad shape, motorists, who would have used them as short cuts to access Isolo road, or Osolo Way, are really embittered and want something done about it.

Motorists who make use of Kogberegbe Street, (which is a shouting distance from Isolo General Hospital), to bypass the usual gridlock between Isolo Market and Aye Junction, also face an uphill task navigating the increasing number potholes on the road.

Some of them told The Guardian that the road network within Isolo remains a source of frustration to them, as these access roads that are supposed to ease the traffic build up at Aye Junction are in terrible conditions.

They are therefore, appealing to the state government to come to their aid, by carrying out remedial works on the affected roads within the community.

Inner roads in Ikotun are as bad as those in other parts of the state, if not worse. In areas such as Abaranje, Ijegun, Egan and Igando, most of the access roads are in very poor shape and begging for attention.

Interestingly, some of these roads are important access roads, which could facilitate swift movement from one flank of the area to the other, without going through the Ikotun Roundabout.

For instance, the road that passes through Aseph Edema Street, linking Abaranje to Ijegun Community and the one that passes through K and S Street, linking the area to Egan are dilapidated, and need to be upgraded as they are capable of easing gridlock in the Ikotun axis.

Certain sections of Ijegun Road that links the community with Ikotun have failed over time, while Abaranje road is also gradually joining the ranks of pothole-filled roads in the area.

Speaking on the challenge posed by the worsening state of roads in the area, the Chairman, Caretaker Committee, Ifelodun Abaranje Community Development Association, Mohammed Rafin-Kazeem, decried the manner, which the state government has neglected inner roads in the community.

While insisting that people of the area have not felt government’s impact over the years, he charged the present government to correct the oversight of previous administrations and develop the community, including face-lifting its bad roads.

Special Adviser to Governor Akinwumi Ambode on Public Works and Drainages, Temidayo Erinle, said the state government is well aware of the challenges being experienced by commuters on Lagos roads, but has also identified some roads that need to be worked on whether comprehensively or partially.

According to him, to have a first hand understanding of the situation, the governor two Saturdays ago went round the city with some of his aides to see the state of roads.

He further said that Ambode’s commitment to having a pothole free city, was what made him to reposition the Public Works Corporation in order to comprehensively address issues relating to potholes and drainages.

Erinle claimed that the rains have slowed down the corporation’s pace of work, assuring that once the rains subside, whatever amount of time available would be used to carry out serious work.

He disclosed that, in the coming days, the state government, through the outfit, would carry out rehabilitation works on 43 major link roads across the state, in a move he said is part of the comprehensive drainage maintenance and flood control programme of the state for the period between August and December 2017.

He said: “As you are all aware, we are presently in the rainy season, as such, much cannot be done during this period. However, we are currently carrying out palliative works on our major roads through the application of boulders, crushed stones and other construction materials to address the potholes problems in order not to paralyse economic activities in the state.

“Similarly, we also take advantage of some dry days to carry out repair works in an effort to reduce traffic gridlock on Lekki-Epe Expressway, between Adetokunbo Ademola to Samuel Adedoyin Street; a section of Ikorodu Road between the new and old pedestrian bridges inward Maryland; Ikorodu Road, Ketu Bus Stop and Ikuomola Street, Idimu Alimosho Local Council.

“Asides that, I want to assure the people that immediately the rain subsides, the Lagos State Public Works Corporation will embark on massive road maintenance and repairs of all major highways and arterial roads found to be in bad state.”

Erinle said aside the 43 major link roads to be repaired in the coming days, engineers from the corporation have also been sent out to identify other failed spots across the state, as the state government was determined to fix all potholes and guarantee seamless driving experience.