By Ola Ajayi
IBADAN—HUNDREDS of residents in Ogbomoso area of Oyo State, yesterday, prevented vehicular movement on the busy Ogbomoso-Oyo-Ilorin road to protest non-completion of the road 18 years after the construction started.
The blockage of the road resulted in serious gridlock which forced motorists to meander through untarred roads in villages and hamlets to get to their destinations.
The Ogbomoso-Ilorin road serves as a link between the South West and northern parts of the country.
The protesters who brandished placards with varying descriptions gathered at the Taki Square of the city as early as 7 am.
Some of the placards read: ‘Stop the killings, fix our road’, ‘We are not animals; we deserve better roads’, ‘FG, Complete our road’, ‘Ogbomoso-Oyo road is our Boko Haram’, ‘Complete 18-year projects.’
Seen among the protesters were the Christians Association of Nigerian, CAN Ogbomoso zone, the Igbo Community, Hausa Community and other socio-cultural groups.
In a statement signed by the Head of Churches in Ogbomoso, Reverend Israel Olaniyan; Secretary, Head of Churches, Bishop Adebayo Akintola; Chairman, League of Imams and Alfas, Ogbomoso zone; Secretary, Egbe Omo Ogbomoso Parapo Agbaye, Mr. Michael Abioye; they claimed that 15 people lost their lives weekly and 780 deaths are usually recorded in a year.
Revd Olaniyan said: “The construction of the dual carriage highway which started 18 years ago has left the Ilorin-Ogbomoso and Oyo-Ibadan portion in a particularly deplorable condition while the Ogbomoso-Oyo axis of the express road is yet to be started.
“The situation has left no option for commuters than to continue to use the old Ogbomoso-Oyo road which is a one lane road plied by vehicles of all sizes, going to and from Northern Nigeria.
“Statistics at our disposal indicates that an average of 15 people die on the road per week. In a year, it indicates that an average of 780 persons is lost on this road. Multiplied by 18 years since the road was awarded, it shows that an average of 14, 040 persons have lost their lives on Ogbomoso-Oyo road. This is alarming and calls for urgent completion of the express road under construction.
“This has become a recurring decimal that must not be allowed to continue. An accidental death on the road has drastically cut short the life expectancy of persons living in this part of Nigeria.
He said: “We indigenes and inhabitants of Ogbomosoland do, hereby, appeal to the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, to expedite action on the construction of the Ogbomoso-Oyo part of the Ibadan-Ilorin road.”