By Jude Njoku, Kingsley Adegboye & Charles Kumolu
GOING to Ayobo Ipaja for the burial of a fallen colleague last week, was like travelling to Golgotha. Although we were warned about the parlous state of the road, we did not bargain for what we went through. Put succinctly, the journey was akin to walking through the biblical valley of the shadow of death such that one wondered how residents of the area connect other parts of the city.
While many outside Lagos believe that the city is working, residents of the nation’s commercial capital who have been having endless nightmares due to the poor state of roads in the city, think otherwise. The city which is said to have the highest concentration of human beings in Africa, is now enveloped with fear and despair. Not even the rich are spared of this hardship resulting from the collapse of most roads across the state.
For months now, most roads in Lagos State have been in deplorable state and this has resulted in unprecedented traffic gridlock. The plight of motorists and commuters have been worsened by the rains. From Ikeja, the seat of government to all the 27 local governments and development areas, the story is the same -bad roads network that have made commuting round the city hellish. So bad is the situation presidently that residents of some neighbourhoods now cursing the day they took the decision to relocate.
A young man who simply identified himself as Tom, cursed the day he relocated to Ikotun in the Ejigbo Council Development Area. According to him, he spends over six hours in the gridlock occasioned by the worsening condition of the Ijegun- Oke-Afa- Jakande and Iyana Ejigbo road leading to the area. For residents of Ijanikin and Agbara, the story is the same. They are usually trapped in the traffic jam for hours on end.
The Apapa-Oshodi Expressway which leads to Nigeria’s busiest seaports – Apapa and PTML and Tin Can Island Port has failed at several locations. These locations include Ibafon (Coconut Bus-stop to Sunrise) and Berger Yard.
Vanguard Features, VF also observed that the collapse of Berger road, has become eternal, even though car dealers usually resort to palliative measures to make the road motorable.
Instructively Oshodi-Apapa expressway has for many years, been neglected resulting in its present state of decay. The drainage systems have become dumping ground for companies operating along the stretch, while Tokunbo vehicle sellers take over some of the available spaces left on the road.
Corrective works carried out on the road in the past have not helped matters, as they have only been peripheral and did not really address the decay.
For residents of Amukoko, a slum in the Ajeromi/Ifelodun local government area, the Alafia-Mosafejo road and Alafia -Oja Amukoko roads have deteriorated to the point that both pedestrians and motorists can no longer use them.
The hope of residents of the area was raised early in the year when an unidentified contractor heaped several tipper loads of laterite on the road. But the hope soon evaporated when the said contractor absconded after levelling the laterite poured on some sections of the road. With the rainy season, the two roads which are less than one kilometre and which could have served as a diversion now that work is ongoing on the construction of the 10 – lane Lagos -Badagry expressway have become completely impassable.
Residents of the highbrow areas are not exempted from the poor state of roads. Most parts of Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lekki-Peninsula have death-trap roads that cause chaotic traffic jams especially when there is a downpour.
“We know that the man is working, but this kind of situation is raising doubt on the type of work he is doing. You know that Lagosians are fast people, they don’t like delays but the roads have changed that. Even if it is a federal road, Fashola should, for the sake of his records, save us from this problem,”Ejike Okoye a commuter noted.
Governor Fashola is no doubt aware of the trauma Lagosians go through on daily basis. The governor had last year, attributed rapid collapse of roads built a few years ago in the state to the menace of heavy trucks.
Fashola, noted that Association Road by the Lagos State Property Development Company (LSDPC), off Ikorodu Road, had collapsed. He added that even Bourdillon Road, built not too long ago, had been damaged in some areas due to movement of heavy trucks.
“All we need to do is to revisit these areas,” he said, noting further that the sudden collapse was the consequence of doing business in residential areas.
According to him, the quality and intensity of materials used in road construction vary from industrial areas to residential quarters, stressing that roads built in industrial area are bound to be of greater intensity as a result of the expected movement of heavy duty vehicles, unlike roads in areas demarcated for residential purposes.
He noted that roads in residential areas collapse in quick succession when heavy duty trucks ply them in the quest to take business away from industrial areas to places demarcated for residential quarters.