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Epileptic streetlights threatening ‘Light Up Lagos Project’



Exactly one year and one day after the election that brought it into office, the Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration in Lagos State launched the “Light Up Lagos Project.”

According to the governor, the initiative is in line with his government’s commitment to building a 24/7 economy that would create employment and wealth for the state.

Built on a tripod consisting the Light Up Lagos Advisory Committee; Community Electrification, and the Street Lighting Initiative, the package formed part of the state’s security strategy to make it competitive, safe and secure.

But just over a year after some streets became illuminated, they have again been thrown into total or partial darkness, either as a result of teething challenges, poor maintenance, use of fake materials, lack of attention or a combination of all these.

However, there are a few cases where the darkness is as a result of ongoing construction works, which have necessitated bringing down the lamp stands and plunging the stretches into darkness. Zik’s House (Ile Zik) in Ikeja to the old Sango Tollgate on the Lagos/Abeokuta Expressway, is one of such examples. Same applies to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road to Oshodi.

But the stretch from Charity Bus Stop, Oshodi, to Ilasamaja Bus Stop along the Oshodi/Apapa Expressway, which became illuminated sometime last year, is a very poor example of how streetlights should work. This is because the lights majorly work on the basis of one-day-on, one-day-off. At times, the situation gets so bad that they remain off for several days, especially the Toyota Bus Stop to Five-Star Bus Stop axis.

This unfortunate development usually allows robbers and street urchins to return to Toyota Bus Stop to ply their nefarious trade. The Police last year listed the bus stop as one of the most notorious in the country.

Abule Egba/Ekoro Junction and Ekoro Junction/Ile-Epo Oja, are other locations that have once again gone dark. At some point, The Guardian learnt that a faulty generating plant was the main issue there. However, over three months after the power generating set was replaced, the area still remains dark at night.

Motorists, commuters and pedestrians used to have a delightful experience around Oke-Koto/Afa Nla, in the Agege area of the state, but those days are now gone since the streetlights have failed to come alive anymore.

Areas like Agidingbi and ACME roads in Ikeja, Allen Avenue-Opebi Road, are among lucky areas that have not gone completely dark at nightfall as the streetlights there are still working in fits and starts.

For over six months now, not a single lamp stand along the whole stretch of Sadiku Street, in the Papa Ajao area of Mushin Local Council has blinked.

Even though the streetlights were mounted during the final lap of the administration of Babatunde Fashola, they continued supplying light until last year when they suddenly became ornaments.

Barely four months ago, some streetlights that were erected last year along Isolo Road (from Iyana Isolo up to Ojuwoye Market in Mushin) came alive. But since then, the few that started working are more off than on.

This prompted a resident of the area, Moroof Adewale to wonder the rationale behind decorating streets with lamp stands that function once in a while.

“This Isolo Road project was started by Governor Fashola over three years ago. Of course, he left office without completing the project. And since government is a continuum, his predecessor Akinwunmi Ambode completed the project. But the streetlights are not working as they should. Most times, it is only the stretch from the police station under the Iyana Isolo Bridge, up to Oye Roundabout that works. The rest are just there. So it is important that we let the governor know that these streetlights are not working as they should so that he would do something about the situation.”

In giving his perspective on the issue, a motorist, Mr. Akanni Waheed, said some of these areas could be paying the price for the activities of vandals since the streetlights are powered by generating plants.

He added that the high cost of keeping the generators running constantly could as well be one of the reasons that the streetlights suffer repeated outages.

He, however, expressed concerns about the situation at Toyota Bus Stop, where he claimed robbers operating around there have been responsible for destroying the streetlights there as they have been hindering their criminal activities.

He appealed to the state government to do everything possible to ensure that the streetlights were on constantly in order to secure lives, a development he said, would further boost the state’s economy.

Last month, the then Special Adviser to the Governor on Communities & Communications, now Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, while speaking at the 2017 Community Day event, assured that Community Development Association (CDAs), have been tasked to report the performance of streetlight in their neighbourhoods.

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