Terrible death traps on Owo-Ikare-Ibillo Federal Road
Ondo Moves To Offer Temporary Relief On Owo/Ikare Road
Motorists plying Owo/Ikare and Owo/Akure federal roads, linking the North and some parts of the South, have expressed disappointment with the level of abandonment the roads have suffered, as well as, the innumerable failed portions that now dot several portions, where vehicles get stacked routinely.
On Owo/Ikare road for instance, the worsening state of that road has given birth to lengthy stretches of traffic jams, as trailers and sundry heavy duty trucks coming from Abuja, and other parts of the North, begin to waltz around bad spots at Isua, Headquarters of Akoko South East, and the boundary with Ibillo, in Akoko-Edo, Edo State.
Motorists coming from other parts of the South West to link the North, through Ikare Road, or the South South and South East, begin to negotiate metres away from the Akure Airport Junction, which has remained a deadly spot to unsuspecting drivers, who are on high speed.
Olawunmi Sunday, an embittered road user expressed despair sitting in a traffic jam that snaked all the way from the military post along Ikare Road, in Owo Local Council, to the decrepit water corporation, in Oba, Akoko South West Local Council.
Sunday disclosed that he spent over 11 hours (8am to 7pm) on the road after a petrol tanker got stuck in one of the failed portions.
“We were in that terrible situation for 11 hours because a tanker driver lost control and fell on the road. There was no movement for a very long time because it took serious efforts to clear the road and move the tanker away. I have never experienced such in my life, even on the Lagos/Ore Expressway that is usually a bad road to travel on.”
Weeks ago, a textile dealer in Ibillo, Mrs. Jemimah Ibrahim, lamented that she spent only six hours on her journey from Lagos to Owo, and ended up spending seven hours on a very short distance in the Owo/Ikare axis, which is less than two hours to her destination in Edo State.
In trying to avoid the hassles at the Ikare/Owo axis, commuters veer to the old Owo/Ikare road, now a narrow, weedy escape route, which had been abandoned for more than two decades, (since the new expressway was constructed) yet, the congestion is still enormous, and road users subjected to harrowing experiences.
Jamiu Solagbade Adekanye, a native of Ikare, Akoko North East Local Council, also lamented the bad portions in Ikare/Epinmi Road, the only road which he said links that Akoko axis to Abuja.
“Travelling through this route has always been a very painful experience. Before you embark on any journey from here to Abuja, or Ikare to Akure, you have to summon a lot of courage because the trip is never smooth, but always rough.
“You cannot put your car on the road and get back home without visiting a mechanic. In addition to that, the car consumes a lot of fuel because of the incessant traffic snarl.
He listed the Owo/Ikare/Oke-Agbe roads, Ikare/Ugbe/Epinmi/Isua roads and Ikare/Erusu/Ikaram/Akunnu roads, which are federal roads in the northern part of the state, as terrible death traps.
A commercial bus driver, Mr. Bello Kamarudeen, who plies Akure/Ikare, recounted terrible experiences he’s had on the road in the recent times, which he said left his colleagues with no other option than to increase transport fare.
“We have no option than adding more money to what we used to charge our passengers. From Akure to Ikare used to be N700, if the bus is boarded from the park, and lower for passengers picked on the way. But now, with the bad roads, we charge higher than that,” Bello said, just as he urged government at all levels to “please come to save us from this hardship and sufferings because even the fare increase is not commensurate with our pains and losses.”
Conscious of the horrendous situation the people have had to put up with, the state government recently commenced an emergency repairs programme aimed at giving attention to deplorable federal roads in the state.
According to the state Commissioner for Information, Kayode Akinmade, the initiative is to assuage the pains of the people, and also ensure that the situation does not negatively impact the state’s economy.
He said in the special intervention programme, undertaken by the Ondo State Agency for Roads Maintenance and Construction (OSARMCO),
three teams have been commissioned to start work.
The teams are stationed at Ipenme/Ago-Panu, close to the military checkpoint to start from Owo; the second team in the middle at Water Works, Oba in Ose Local Council, and the last team at Ode-Igbede, police and military checkpoints area, at the entry of Ikare.
He noted that if the state and road users wait for the Federal Government to fix the roads, they might as well wait endlessly, while enduring the torment and the already strained economy of the state.
He stressed that since the state government cannot afford to be indifferent while the people suffer, it decided to again embark on the rehabilitation of federal government roads, having earlier done same
from Cultural Junction, on Akure-Ondo Road, to Akure-Ado Ekiti Road, at Igoba, especially the stretch connecting Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State.
Akinmade therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to refund funds, which the state spent on the affected roads.
Chairman of OSARMCO, Kehinde Osikoya, while monitoring the teams recently, said the special intervention became necessary to alleviate the challenges faced by road users.
“The situation on this road in the last few months has been very deplorable. Commuters have suffered a lot and it appears there’s no immediate plan by the Federal Government to rehabilitate this road,” he said.
He attributed the failure of different portions of the road to the typical lack of road maintenance in the country, pointing out that: “When you have potholes that are unattended to, they become gullies, and become very bad for motorists to pass. Lack of maintenance has been the bane of this road.
So, “We are repairing the bad portions and there are about 10 to 12 very bad portions on the road while some of the portions are already cutting off.”
Osikoya, who assured the people that the agency would do a quality job, declared that the challenges motorists face on the road would be drastically reduced soon.