By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Concerned citizens and stakeholders have described the state of roads in Lagos in recent times as “a shame and death traps” in view of their dilapidated conditions.
In response to the worsening situation of roads, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, on Thursday, issued a two-week ultimatum Federal Government to rehabilitate the bad roads across the country.
NUPENG also asked the government to immediately address the issue of multiple roadblocks and extortions from all security agents or the union might be forced to embark “on a serious industrial action to drive home our case.”
The National President, Prince Williams Akporeha, at the end of the union’s virtual National Executive Council meeting, said, “We wish to urgently draw the attention of the Federal Government to the harrowing experiences of the owners of petroleum trucks in the country.
“The only means of moving petroleum products across the country is by roads, using the trucks. We can confidently tell you that this means of distribution is presently endangered and require urgent Federal Government stimulus intervention fund to prevent it from total collapse.”
According to him, most of the nation’s highways are becoming death traps for the union members.
He said, “We are shocked at the lackadaisical attitude of local, state and federal governments to the degenerating state of Nigerian roads before the coming of the current raining season despite all our warnings for them to make necessary construction, repairs and maintenance of all our roads, which are now in a parlous state and becoming practically impassable.
“The issue of bad roads is further compounded by the various security agencies who now set up multiple checkpoints on these deplorable roads to further exploit and extort money from motorists. Petroleum tanker drivers are the worst hit by the exploitative tendencies of these unscrupulous security agencies.
“The brazen extortion of our members, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic was really disconcerting and unfortunate.”
The union said it could no longer continue to fold its hands and watch its members, who toil day and night, to keep suffering on the bad roads and in the hands of security agents.
Worst off areas in Lagos are the perennial gridlock on Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, and Lagos Badagry Expressway occasioned by failed road which has left road users, particularly, tankers and articulated vehicles along the axis prone to disasters.
That Lagos federal and state roads are dilapidated and ramshackle, rickety and run down is a coated statement of facts. Federal roads in Lagos with emphasis are death traps and a huge shame to the nation’s economic hub and a former federal capital territory.
A walk or 10 minutes drive through any federal road in Lagos would be met with a crippling gridlock occasioned by failed portions and broom induced floods.
Illustratively, you cannot do a straight 80KM/H for 10 minutes from Orile to Mile2, Mile2 to Badagry. This area seems to be the worst of all.
About a year ago, Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, while flagging off the continuation of the reconstruction of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway at the International Trade Fair Complex in Lagos, urged residents to cooperate with road contractors and help monitor the continuation of the reconstruction of the road to make the work easier for quick delivery and for the benefit of residents, but the situation of the road has not changed for good.
Last Monday, hell was let loose when motorists and residents along Oshodi-Apapa and Lagos Badagry Expressways got stranded in total lockdown occasioned by flooding of the axis worsened by persistent rainfall in the state.