By Ikenna Asomba
As the rains are here again, residents of Ajegunle, a popular suburb of Lagos in the Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area, are presently groaning under apparent neglect by successive administrations to fix the numerous deplorable roads in their community.
Vanguard authoritatively gathered that within the eight years stewardship of the last administration of the state, just two road projects were sited in Ajegunle by the administration. They are the 0.265km dualization of the Alaba/Cemetary Road awarded to Banci Nigeria Limited and the construction of 1.210km Rotimi-Okulaja-Koripamo-Sholade-Salimonu Bakare Streets, awarded to Lopek Engineering & Construction Limited.
The other two projects which were ongoing but had been stalled owing to inadequate funds are the construction of 1.1km Ojoku-Ohuntan Streets awarded to Rojo Engineering & Construction Limited, as well as the Grading and Surface Dressing of 0.8km Onishapa-Akogun Streets awarded to Wallways Tech Limited. The ‘window-dressing’ carried out on Akogun Street has been washed away by flood, as the street has remained impassable for pedestrians, when Vanguard visited last Monday.
Ajegunle community has over 400 streets that may not have been tarred since the existence of the community. These streets and roads also lack proper drainage channels, medians, walk-ways and street lights, unlike their counterparts in communities such as Surulere, Lagos Mainland, Apapa and Lagos which had the highest number of completed road projects under the last administration.
However, according to statistics from the Lagos State Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, the last administration in eight years, completed 229 new roads amounting to 118.159km, as well as did Grading and Surface Dressing on 80 roads amounting to 46.191km. Ongoing road projects are 201 amounting to 237.771km, while there is Grading and Surface Dressing ongoing on 71 roads amounting to 76.740km.
Unlike Ajegunle, top beneficiaries of these completed and ongoing road projects according to a summary by the works ministry are: Alimosho- completed (31) ongoing (16); Lagos Mainland- completed (29) ongoing (3); Surulere- completed (26) ongoing (37); Kosofe- completed (25) ongoing (29); Ifako Ijaiye- completed (22) ongoing (13); Mushin- completed (20) ongoing (3); Ikorodu- completed (17) ongoing (8).
5, 000 roads in 4 years
Against this backdrop of inequality in the siting of road projects, Ajegunle residents have cried out to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, to urgently declare a state of emergency on roads in their community. They made this call in view of Ambode’s campaign promise, at a Town Hall meeting at Eagle Club, Surulere, to build 5,000 roads in four years, if elected.
Ambode had said that his government will complement efforts of the local governments by ensuring that a minimum of 20 roads with street lights are built by each local government every year.
The impassable roads
When Vanguard visited the community last Monday, the four major roads in the community were riddled with pot-holes, shallow drainage channels, lack of median, walk-ways and street-lights. This forced motorists, motorcyclists and tricyclists meandering through the potholes riddledroads.
The four major roads are: Boundary-Aiyetoro-Ojo Road-Alaba Suru; Boundary-Baale-Mba-Cardoso-Otto Woff; Boundary-Tolu-Kirikiri-Berger Suya and Ojoku-Idewu-Industrial Avenue.
However, numerous other streets in deplorable state include: Ekundayo, Molade, Osho Drive, Kekere Ogun, Okito, Uzor, Akerele, Omowunmi, Chidi, Dada Onijama, Odudu, James Igbe, Ashafa, Oluwa, Mensah, Baba Sule, Akimbo, Taiwo, Wowo, Temidire, Adeolu, Apena, Apikirin, Isikalu, Silver, Ugbewankwo, Okorogbo, Akatapko, Abukuru, Babani, Goriola, Rashidi, Ladipo, Otuniyo, Ezeagu, Adekeye, Ligali, Aiyenero, Mosalashi, Olowosu, Ladega, Akogun, Ibafon, Emodi, Fasasi, Kudaisi, Alhaji Adebola, Bolaji Oloro, Jones Waribi and Jejeliaye
Other abandoned streets are Togunde Igbaja, Sadiku, Trinity Close, Dele Bakare, Abiola Oluwa, Alhaji Kareem Akande, Kola Akin-Tepede Close, Cemetery Road, Palace Road, George, New Creature Avenue, Arowo Iyabuno, Iyakudima Lane, Chuka Ben Avenue, Adetola Lane, Chief Titus Ufondu, Ben Onyeka, Ola Badmus, Deliverance, Barr. Ahmed Musa, Odofin Akinsanya, Raufu Olaiya, Abiodun, Queen, Otakoya, Olowa, Emmanuel Avenue, John Okorie, Ishaga among others.
However, reacting, Ms. Tare Ebitebe, who was lamenting the state of Akogun Street, said to have been resurfaced by the state government said: “The Akogun Street in Olodi, Ajegunle has remained deplorable over the last 25 years. It is absurd and regrettable that a street where I reside, which is currently impassable for residents to move in and out, is what the state government is saying it has fixed. Since 1999, residents have filed series of complaints to the local government authorities, but all have fallen on deaf ears.”
Another resident, Mr. Kolawole Taiwo, who spoke on the deplorable state of his street, Ishaga Street, said: “My brother, I was born 30 years ago in this community. Since I was born, there has never been any time the government has remembered us on this street. Our street is not tarred, it lacks proper drainage channel and street-lights. It’s pathetic that every rainy season, we are sacked by flood water, emerging from the filled canals and drains in this neighbourhood. This calls for a state of emergency from the Lagos State Government.”
On her part, Alhaja Aminat Kayode, a trader at Boundary Market, said “The horrible state of the link road into our market gives us much worry, because it has since been scaring our customers from patronising us. Why would government be collecting huge levies from us daily, yet we have no road into our market. It is insensitivity on the part of government.”