*As Epe car crushing plant facility rots away
BY OLASUNKANMI AKONI
To prevent miscreants from planting bombs and grenades in abandoned and disused vehicles, the Lagos State Government has come up with various security measures including evacuation of such vehicles from the roads .
Subsequently, a committee on abandoned/disused vehicles was established. It is charged with the responsibility of removing the vehicles.
Several abandoned vehicles in areas such as; Surulere, Mainland, Mushin, Agege, Ketu among other council areas that make up the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas, were later removed.
Apart from serving as hideout for criminals, such vehicles impede free flow of traffic, resulting in gridlocks where lives and property of citizens are threatened. The irony, however, is – no sooner than the government evacuated abandoned vehicles do others replace them.
Also worrisome is the abandoned refurbished car crushing plant at Shalla in Epe, where decrepit vehicles were supposed to be crushed and recycled. The plant, built with several millions of public fund has been under lock and key.
The wide expanse of land at Epe, dedicated to the crushing purpose is presently over-grown with weeds, with no sign of activity.
However, while inspecting the plant sometime this year, governor Babatunde Fashola noted that the place was under- utilised, stressing; “There is need to increase the capacity of the industry in order to boost the revenue generation and employment need of the state.”
All efforts to find out the immediate and remote causes of inactivity at the crushing plant from the transportation commissioner Mr Kayode Opeifa, whose ministry oversees its running was unsuccessful at press time. However, recently while giving the scorecard of the ministry, Opeifa said; “While we are proud to have removed over 4,500 abandoned and disused vehicles from Lagos state roads, it is sad that recent surveys by Community Development Associations, CDAs, and Community Development Councils, CDCs, under the supervision of the Ministry of Rural Development have, from the beginning of the year, identified another 4,632 vehicles abandoned on over 9,100 roads in Lagos State.
“It is equally sad that as soon as we completed the removal exercise in Surulere Local Government, working in conjunction with the CDCs and the local government chairman, some vehicles were back on the roads especially on Cole Street, Shifawu Street and Ayilara/ Clegg area.
“These vehicles are veritable tools for hoodlums, miscreants, armed robbers and other forms of social vices. Also they pose as health risk to residents.”
Obstruction to traffic
Investigation by Vanguard revealed that abandoned vehicles still litter the state, causing obstruction to traffic as well as posing security threat to residents.
The committee seemed to have relaxed in the responsibility of enforcing the removal order as owners of abandoned vehicles have left them unattended to in their usual manner.
Some of the streets where vehicles are abandoned recklessly include: Olorunde, Amoo Streets, Orile Agege, Kasumu Street, Agege, Oniwaya Street also in Agege area. They are also found at Ipodo Street, Ikeja, near Ikeja flyover bridge, off Awolowo Way, Oduyemi Street, Ikeja; Ikorodu environs; Ojo, Orile-Igamu, Apapa council area and Yaba, among others.