By Bose Adebayo
MOVINGÂ round some popular streetsÂ in Apapa Local Government Area, one will not fail to notice certain billboardsÂ conspicuosly mounted at strategic locations. On each of the billboards are the carefully displayed photographs of the Apapa Local Government Chairman, Hon. Ayodeji Joseph and a bad road placed side by side a newly constructed one with drainage system.
Boldly written are words claiming that the Apapa Local Government had constructedÂ drainage and resurfaced road for each named street with pictoral evidence supporting thisÂ â€˜Before and Afterâ€™. In other words, the billboards were intended to highlight and promote some of the achievements of the local government.
However, seeming to put a lie to these claims are eyesore spectacles in the area, includingÂ Â heaps of granite and sand, planks, blocked or dilapidated drainage, broken bricks as well as indiscriminate parking of trucks and commercial buses which have been a cause of concern to residents.
But the residents are even more troubled and embarrassed by several failed portions of roads in the area some of which have been rendered unmotorable by gullies and crater-like potholes. The most severely affectedÂ include Point Road, Danfodio Street, North Avenue, Central Avenue, Park lane, Crowther Crescent, among others.
Apart from that, residents say they also suffer untold hardship from flooding any time it rains. The flooding, they claim, sometimes forces them to abandon their residences and seek refuge in far away places.
Indeed when Vanguard Metro recently visited the area, it was observed that none of the roads could boast of a good drainage system in spite of the fact that the local government has embarked on construction of drainage in some of the streets.Â Work, it was also observed, has been abandoned at some drainage construction sites while others are poorly constructed. The poor condition of these roads has in most cases resulted in heavy traffic congestion within the area seriously hampering human and vehicular movements.
The landscaping exercise being carried out on some of the roads has been described by some diassatisfied residents as nothing but a wasteful exercise because of its umkept appearance.
Apart from bad roads, inadequate refuse collection, indiscriminate parking of trucks, illegal changing of street names and lack of security are among the plethora of complaints made by some residents when Vanguard Metro visited this area.
â€œThe bill boards erected by the local government chairman are a mere deceit. How could he erect the signboards when he has not done anything to warrant the achievements he is claiming? Illegal changing of street names is becoming worrisome. For instance, the popular Marine Road is now called Oscar Ibru Road. How can the government name the Marine Road after a small boy who has not contributed to the development of this community?
Also, we have been paying N7,000 per month on refuse collection even though we have not been enjoying the service. Each of us was asked to buy a refuse bin at the rate of N55,000; many of us are old but we are not enjoying the government,â€ said a resident and community leader, Dr. Jerry Grange.
Another resident who pleaded anonymity told Vanguard Metro thus: â€œI am aware the state government is doing its best but there are some unscrupulous elements at the local government level who undermine the state governmentâ€™s efforts. Some lorries coming from the North, park indiscriminately on these roads while some of the drivers have been defecating on the roads and no arrest have been made.
We pay tax and tenement rates but we do not feel the impact of the government,â€ he complained. â€œI donâ€™t know what the government is doing in this local government O,â€ said a resident who simply gave his name as Idris.
Spokesperson of Apapa GRA Resident Association simply identified as Mike told Vanguard Metro the community comprises about 980 residents out of which about 120 are registered members of the association. â€œThe association is constrained by lack of funds in carrying out infrastructural development in this community.
Some of the residents have complained of neglect but there is nothing we can do to augment governmentâ€™s effort since most of the residents have refused to register with this association,â€ he said.
However, in a chat with Vanguard Metro, Hon. Joseph said his administration has embarked on major construction of drainage and resurfacing of roads. â€œThe Supervisor for Works is in the best position to give further information on this,â€ he said.