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Lagosians laud life-saving barriers, want vandals apprehended

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PHOTO: Connect Nigeria

Darting across expressways has been one habit that a good number of Lagos residents have cultivated over the years. To show how deeply it has been entrenched in them, some embark on this risky exercise even under pedestrian bridges.

Worried by the rising number of deaths from the reckless act, the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration, erected wire mesh on medians along some major roads, which are meant to prevent and guard against inappropriate crossing of the expressway, and encourage regular use of pedestrian bridges.

This, however, is not the first time that the state government is taking such a step. Some years ago, the barriers were created around Ojota, Mile 2, Oshodi, Cele and Ijesha, but some unscrupulous members of the public vandalised them within months of erection.

Also, about two years ago, between Suru and Mile 2 bus stops, along the Orile-Badagry Expressway, the perimeter fence built with barbwire had sections of it carved out by vandals despite provision made for pedestrians.

However, unlike the past ones, which were bland and colourless, the present barriers look more fanciful, attractive and made of high quality materials, which have the tendency to attract vandals because of their economic value.

Already, the one erected between Ojota and Ketu are already being tampered with. Around New Garage Bus Stop, a section of the perimeter fence has also been pulled down and room created for pedestrians to navigate.

That explains why Ayo Longe, a resident of the state sees the erection of these barriers as a waste of public resources.

“These fences would definitely be vandalised or pulled down. The only possible way of ensuring they are not vandalised is providing 24-hour security and I don’t know if Lagos State has the resources to do so for all the fences it is constructing,” he said.

Another resident, Michael Davies sees it differently from Longe. According to him, the initiative meant to protect lives of Lagosians, though not new, is still a welcome development.

“Irrespective of damages, I am also of the view that government should set up a monitoring team to curb vandals, who would constantly prey on the wire mesh until they bring the entire thing down. The essence of this wire mesh on the medians is to protect lives and reduce fatal accidents on our expressways. So it should be encouraged, protected from vandals.”

Adebukola Alade, shares Davies’ views, saying the development was a welcome one, which should receive the support of all residents of the state, especially considering the fact that Lagos is a cosmopolitan city. The government should ensure that residents are adequately conscientised on the need to appreciate measures put in place to preserve their lives.”

Alade, however, wants the government to explore ways of effectively checking the activities of vandals. “Thank God for the Neighbourhood Watch, police and other security agencies that are in place in the state. They should be saddled with the responsibility of tracking those vandals and bringing them to book in order to serve as a deterrent to other.”

She said because it will be vandalised does not mean the right thing should not be done.

“Those fences being erected would go a long way in saving the lives of Lagosians, so the government should be encouraged to do more along this line. In addition to saving lives, they also ensure free flow of traffic,” Alade said.

Hope Bassey is elated at government’s efforts at averting needless deaths on expressways.

To her, the wire meshes also have a way of making highway stretches look good and organised. “Unfortunately, it is just a matter of time before careless motorists and vandals get them destroyed.”

Joy Edeki is equally appreciative of government’s efforts towards saving lives.

She, however, said what makes residents destroy the wire mesh is when they have to walk long distances to use the bridge. “It can be annoying,” she said.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Civic Engagements, Mr. Kehinde Joseph, maintained that government would do its bit by ensuring that the barriers are not vandalised, but citizens must take ownership of the project.

He said Lagosians should also keep watch over them and ensure that they are not damaged. He said residents and citizens must prevent anyone, who wants to vandalise the project, and not look away when their property is about being damaged.


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