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Dirt, potholes encircle multi-billion naira Oshodi interchange

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At its completion, the Oshodi Interchange Terminal automatically changed the landscape of a once-notorious section of Oshodi in Lagos. This is because the modern, fancy facility easily dominates its environment, while providing a huge aesthetic contrast to other structures surrounding it.

The original idea, as projected by the immediate past administration, which conceived and executed the project, was to make it a tourist site. In its present state, however, it is glaring that the interchange is far from meeting that prospect. What is on ground still leaves a lot to be desired in this regard.

Months after the interchange became operational, the roads encircling the three terminals that constitute the imposing edifice do not befit such monument.
 
The Lagos-Abeokuta Road separates Terminals 1 and 2 from Terminal 3, while the Oshodi Flyover on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway separates Terminals 1 and 2. Driving down the flyover, inward Airport Road, though the descending road looks good from afar, but it is actually in a horrible state.

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And whenever it rains, the road serves as a pool for dirty water, which stagnates by Terminal 2. In dry season, potholes of different shapes and sizes dot that portion of the road. Just few metres away, it is the same scenario. Potholes also ‘decorate’ the front of Terminals 1 and 2, which slow down vehicular movement, worsened by rickety long buses that delight in picking commuters on the road or park by the roadside. The long line of BRT buses queuing to go into the terminal are not helping matters either, as they have also taken over a section of the road. All these contribute to the congestion and chaotic traffic scene in that part of Oshodi.

Ascending the flyover, inward Anthony, road users are confronted with heaps of refuse, which emit acrid smell of urine and faeces. The place in Terminal 1 meant to be a car park has been turned into an open bar, where commercial bus drivers and miscreants indulge in drinking and smoking. This goes on throughout the day and even the night. Also, kiosks have been built inside the car park and now serve as home to some miscreants. Others have found refuge in abandoned vehicles within the car park.

Terminal 3, which is located opposite Terminals1 and 2 does not fare any better. The roads encircling it are also in awful condition, with different sizes of ‘craters’ dotting them. Unruly commercial bus drivers, who park and pick passengers recklessly, compete with motorists accessing Ilupeju and the expressway.

This poor, distasteful surrounding takes the shine off the otherwise beautiful and grand scheme, which if it had been handled better, would have added enormous value to Oshodi and its environ.

On the railway track in front of Terminal 3, some miscreants, comprising boys, girls and adults, reign supreme. Smoking and inhaling different types of substance, which they often consume with varied types of local gins, they appear unperturbed, as they indulge in the substance abuse, even in broad daylight.

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A Lagos resident, Mr. Adedayo Ogunlana, who was about boarding a bus, when The Guardian accosted him, said it is ironical and baffling that the environment of such a huge facility that must have gulped so much money is so dirty. In his view, it does not complement the terminals.

He said: “When did they start using this facility that its surrounding is gradually turning into an eyesore? So, it will not be surprising if in few years the main building gradually becomes a relic. This clearly reinforces the general notion that public facilities are often neglected and lack maintenance.”

Another resident, Mrs. Bimpe Talabi, said the state government should not allow the facility and its environ to rot. She urged the Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to urgently take appropriate steps and give whatever it takes to bring the scheme and its environ to the world-class standard envisaged by the initiators.

“The government should take more than a passing interest in the structure,” she stated. “It is something that should help to change the psychology of the average Oshodi residents or one that has anything to do with Oshodi, especially considering the negative perception people had about Oshodi before the edifice was erected. The present administration should endeavour to build on the legacy. More legacy facilities should be built to positively change the narrative of Oshodi.”

She added that those using the terminals, especially transporters and their union, should be engaged and educated on the management and use of the terminal. “I said this because of Terminal 2, which is dirty, rowdy and very disorganised. This is because those using it were not meant to be there. They have transferred the culture of open space park into the bigger and modern terminal.”

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Chukwudi Kanayo said when looking at the terminal, one is proud as a Nigerian, but the dirty environment leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

He said: “The ambience surrounding Terminal 1 makes nonsense of the huge investment in constructing the edifice. Aside the terrible state of the access road, the entire surrounding looks rough and dirty. Apart from the activities of touts, whose sole business is to smoke Indian hemp by the iron fence, traders have practically taken over the entrances of the terminal.

“So, I am pleading with the state government and the governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to urgently do something about it and ensure the environment of the interchange looks decent.”

The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, said he was just informed yesterday about deterioration of roads around the interchange. He promised to get the state ministry of works to take action.

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