LAST Monday, angry youths and students of the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, AOCOED, Ijanikin, Lagos, joined by students of the Lagos State University, LASU, marched along the unbelievably bad Lagos-Badagry Expressway in protest.
This time around, the students were not protesting against higher school fees or the deplorable condition of facilities in their schools. They were asking both the Federal and Lagos State governments to immediately fix that international road, the gateway to neighbouring West African countries like Benin Republic, Ghana, Togo, and others.
Some angry students who spoke to Vanguard around the Federal Government College, Ijanikin, said the protest was about the Lagos-Badagry Expressway which has become hell on earth for all users of the road. “You can see for yourself the condition of this international road. Since we were born, we have never seen any road in this condition, even in the rural areas,” they chorused.
Without exaggeration, it will be difficult to find a road in any prospective megacity in the world comparable to the Nigerian section of the Trans-West African Coastal Highway which connects Lagos, Nigeria with Dakar, Senegal. It is a shame to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Lagos State Government and the people.
The Lagos-Badagry Expressway is perhaps the biggest monument of state failure in Nigeria. By its status as the highway to the highly reputable tourism town of Badagry, international tourists are often seen on the road, on their way to Badagry, videoing the road and taking its pictures – perhaps to show it when they return home as “one of the seven wonders of the world” on the side of infamy.
No doubt, those international tourists would be wondering how it is possible for such a road full of gullies, ditches, crevices, mud and flood to exist in any country in the 21st century. Surely, too, they must be reading the faces of Nigerians and other Africans who use the road, wondering how in the world the people and their businesses have managed to survive it.
Government is constituted by humans with hearts and souls, and so should show human sympathies? How can their hearts fail to break, watching the level of human sufferings occasioned by the hellish Lagos-Badagry Expressway?
Reconstruction work on the road began around 2009. Several years later the work continued to move at a snail’s pace until it was completely abandoned a few years ago due to negative politics within the ruling party in Lagos.
We appeal to the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Lagos State Government to immediately declare a state of emergency on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, fix it, and save the people from embarrassment and pain. Governor-elect, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, over to you!