By Bose Adebayo & Kingsley Adegboye
SOME weeks ago, it was one of several potholes which punctuate the entire stretch of the usually traffic-busy Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.
But what was once regarded as a minor and relatively harmless pothole has today transformed into a network of craters that has wrecked many vehicles and sent several othersÂ to mechanics and panel beatersâ€™ workshops.
Indeed motorists now consider the stretch of service lane between the AP filling station and the Berger bridge one to avoid as a matter of necessity if you donâ€™t want your car wrecked or damaged beyond repair.
Some weeks ago before this failed section of the road became the nightmare that it is presently, many motorists could still drive over the cracks and abrasions on it without endangering their lives or exposing their vehicles to serious damage. But not anymore. Now it takes only those who are daring or desperate to brave that death-trap on the road.
Unfortunately it is a must use for those wishing to take the overhead bridge to connect to the other side of the expressway leading to Mile Two and Oshodi.
The situation has worsened since the beginning of the rainy season. This obviously accounts for why several sections of the road from Berger Yard Bus-stop to Kirikiri and the popular telecommunication company, MTN office, have failed.
Consequently a journey that should take not less than 15 minutes now last over three hours. It has also seriously affectedÂ economic activities around the area with staff of companies located and operating there having bitter tales to tell on a daily basis.
When Vanguard Metro visited the spot last week, many vehicles were seen practically having to swim across the pool of water that covered the entire area. Some fell into the network of gullies and got trapped there.
President General of United Berger Motor Dealers Association, Apapa/Oshodi Expressway, Honourable Metche Nnadiekwe said his association spent thousands of naira to carry out temporary repairs on the road until they were recently stopped by some uniformed officials who said private organisations were not permitted to carry out any repair on the road.
â€œIt seems some people are eating from the damaged road because our associationÂ attempted to sand-fill the failed sections but our taskforce team was stopped by some uniformed men who said it is basically the Federal Governmentâ€™s affair.
That was six months ago,â€ he said.
Nnadiekwe said the spot became badÂ about two years ago when a telecommunication company cut through the road to pass some pipes and cables. â€œWe started operating here in 1993. The road was smooth until two years ago when we noticed a telecommunications company cutting the road.
We could not challenge them because we did not know whether they had the backing of the government. They left without patching the road which has now degenerated,â€ he informed.
Some commercial vehicle operators who spoke with Vanguard Metro said they will soon begin to avoid the road if nothing is done. â€œThere are two options and commuters are the ones to suffer for these. We either stop plying this route or increase the fare,â€ said one of them, Ola Jacob.
Responding to questions on why the roadÂ has been neglected, the Chief Maintenance Engineer of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) in charge of Lagos West, Engr. Olusesan Akingbade spoke of plansÂ by the Lagos office of FERMA to fix the worsening portions on the service lane between Berger Yard and under the bridge towards Apapa.
But he also explained that the limited budget of the agency was to carry out its primary function of maintaining good and functional roads but not to carry out repair works as it is presently doing.
According to him, the budget can only accommodate repair works on the carriageways which are of more priority than the service lanes.
Engr. Akingbade said that the Minister of Works, Housing and Urban DevelopmentÂ visited the Oshodi/Apapa Expressway recently and so is aware of the problems on the ever busy highway.
He reminded of the Ministerâ€™s position that the expressway needs to be structurally and functionally upgraded because so many portions of the road have failed and require redesign and outright reconstruction. He therefore assured thatÂ the road will be a major issue in the Ministryâ€™s budget next year.
On whether the auto dealers operating around the bridge can carry out necessary repair works on the spots, Engr. Akingbade said anybody who is interested in adding to the improvement of Nigerian roads is welcome.
He, however, pointing out that whoever is interested in doing this should approach FERMA for quality assessmentÂ because FERMA has a standard that it maintains. He said repair of roads goes beyond just pouring laterite on the road.
Omole Golden Rotary donates N1m furniture to school
Rotary Club of Omole-Golden has reiterated its commitment to assist the masses in terms of educational challenges
President of the Club, Rotn.Chester Apasi who disclosed this at the presentation of a N1 million worth classroom chairs and desks to Oke-Ira Senior Secondary School,Ogba, said it was high time Nigerians rose to address the plight of the masses.
According to Apasi, the Club is determined to nurture its cordial relationship with management of the school in order to reach a mutual agreement on meeting the core needs of the school through urgent intervention.
In his words: â€œFor the past four years, our focus for this institution is to make far-reaching impacts on the well-being of its students via immediate and long-term projectsâ€.
Varsity alumni plans support programme for Alma-mater
Members of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State (OOU),Â Alumni Association have pledged to embark on various developmental projects to assist the institution aimed at uplifting educational standard of the school.
The alumni also joined other concerned Nigerians in appealing to Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of University to end the disagreement that led to the recently called-off strike by ASUU.
Speaking during a recent media briefing at Alausa, Ikeja, the newly elected National President of the Alumni association, Mr Tokunbo Olajide said the new executive of the Alumni was determined to render selfless service to promote the image of the university and direct all human and material efforts of members to the cause.