By Bose Adebayo
WHEN was the last time you visited Sango-Ota in Ogun State? In those days, it used to be a commercial hub that links the state to Lagos State but activities on this road have been on a standstill since December 2007 due to the abandoned flyover.
Interestingly a lot of those who reside in this town come to Lagos dailyÂ to earn a living even though transportation to and from the area has become a nightmare experience since the bridge was abandoned.
The only option is the untarred road that links Dalemo from Iyana Ota junction, thereby stretching the journey of 10 minutes to three hours. At this junction can be foundÂ a glorified â€˜oceanâ€™ which motorists have to swim before connectingÂ Dalemo.
The situation was worse at Iyana-Ijoko as commuters invariably had to perform the ritual of washing their legs just as they had to employ whatever agility they possessed to avoid falling inside the muddy pool and the pile of debris that has hijacked the road.
However, all these might soon give way if feelers from both the State and Federal Governments are anything to go by. Vanguard Metroâ€™s visit to the area recently revealed the â€˜mini-oceanâ€™ at Iyana-Ota has been sand-filled while the potholesÂ after the bridge and Iyana-Ijoko had given way even though part of the bridge is still littered with faeces.
More so, the Ogun State Governor, Gbenga Daniel, had ordered the state Road Management Agency (OGROMA) to move its offices to Sango Ota and provide immediate relief to motorists by rehabilitating the long abandoned Ota bridge flyover, a Federal Government project.
Daniel, it is learnt, had also ordered OGROMA to repair the failed sections along both sides of the bridge while also effecting repairs on six major link roads in the area.
When Vanguard Metro embarked on a tour round the area, some men were seen working on the main road with clearing of debris taking place at Oju-Ore and Joju.
Traffic has also become a hitch-free experienceÂ from Oju-Ore to Joju as residents now count the blessings of a tarred road. This was done to give relief to commuters and motorists pending when the Federal Government would continue with the abandoned project.
About a month ago, the Speaker of the House ofÂ Representatives, Honourable Dimeji Bankole paid a visit to the area and addressed the residents.
Thereafter, aÂ giant billboard with the Nigerian Coat of Arms was erected close to Joju junction with the legend: â€œFederal Ministry of Works; work will soon commence on this roadâ€.
Some of the residents who spoke with Vanguard Metro expressed surprise at the development. â€œI heard it on the news that the Governor had directed OGROMA to start work on the road but I never believedÂ him because it might be another propaganda,â€ said a motorist, Nanjola Oluwa.
Even though it is the dawn of a new day on the road, Odunwusi Akanmu who has passed the night trapped in a standstill traffic or more than one occasionÂ would never forget the experience. â€œYou see, I have slept on this road on a number of occasions due to its usual logjam. I cannot leave my car on the road; as a result, I was left with the choice of sleeping on the road.
The government had waited for too long before listening to our plight; a lot of dangerous incidents have taken place on this road. I donâ€™t believe such things should be happening in a place where we have a government,â€ he recounted.
A trader Helen Igbokwe said the situation is better said than experienced.Â â€œMany of our customers have abandoned us. A lot of them have been going to Oke-Odo or Agege when they consider the ordeal of coming to Sango. Do you want to consider the dirty water they have to wade through or the debris that usually surrounds us here.
This has really affected our sales; sometimes the ground becomes so slippery that some shoppers slip off the road and fall inside the dirty water and debris,â€ she said.
However,Â the efforts by the state government might be a wasted one, according to observers, until the Federal Government fulfils its own obligation on the road.
For instance, the frequent downpourÂ in the area had washed off the material used in sand filling the potholes. Also, heaps of refuse had become a permanent feature on the major road, especially from Temidire to Iya-Ota. Some commuters and motorists who spoke with Vanguard Metro said the sand filling might not stand a test of time, especially during the rainy season.
More so, the promise made by Honourable Dimeji Bankole on that Friday as well as the bill board erected by the Federal Government is likely to be that of a tale bearer. The common refrain now is: Only God knows how â€œsoonâ€ the work will â€œcommenceâ€.Â A source told Vanguard Metro the Speaker promised to commence work on the road two weeks ago but as at the time of writing, nothingÂ has taken place.
â€œTraffic is a bit better at the Oju-Ore axis but from Tollgate, there is no way one can escape the hitch in front of the Police Station.
In fact, there was a recap of the old Sango when there was a downpour last Thursday and Friday; many of us were trapped for hours. It is a Federal Government project and the burden must not be left for the state to bear alone,â€ said Wuraola Amoke.
LAWMA urges residents to report careless compactor truck drivers
The Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) has charged members of the public to assist in monitoring the activities of its truck drivers so as to checkmate the reckless driving.
The Managing Director of LAWMA, Mr. Ola Oresanya gave the charge while reacting to various complaints against the activities of truck drivers in the state.
According to him, the new compactor trucks were purchased by the state government to enable it perform better and serve Lagos residents better by ensuring an effective Waste Management System in the state.
Oresanya noted that tax payers money were used in the purchase of the new waste compactor trucks, hence it is a public property and should be protected by all.Â Â He therefore urged Lagos residents to monitor the truck drivers and report any careless driving by calling the following telephone numbers: 8538601, 8538602, 8739736 and 8739087, which had already been inscribed on the trucks, adding that there will be quick responses to any call received.
Speaking further, Oresanya commended all those who had reported wrong driving on the part of some of the truck drivers in the past, adding that investigations were carried out and those found guilty were suspended and this according to him would be a continuous exercise until the bad ones are flushed out.
According to him, a lot of scrutiny and test was carried out before any one was employed, saying that out of every 12, there might be a Judas.
While assuring the public of their safety, he urged them to take as collective responsibility the protection and reservation of public property, so as to derive maximum benefits from the taxes paid adding that LAWMA is resolved to ensure that the Lagos environment is cleaner and healthier.