Faring under bad roads: Residents of Ogun-Lagos boundary communities cry out | Dailytrust

Faring under bad roads: Residents of Ogun-Lagos boundary communities cry out

Bad portions of Oke Aro-Lambe-Ijoko Road
Bad portions of Oke Aro-Lambe-Ijoko Road

Bad roads in some Ogun communities have forced thousands of indigenes and residents to always come to Lagos before assessing other parts of the state, especially the capital Abeokuta, Daily Trust reports.

The deplorable state of roads linking Ogun State and Lagos has left many residents of various communities bordering Lagos in untold woe and hardship. 

Navigating Ogun State from Yakoyo to Alagbole, Akute, Ajuwon, Lambe, Oke Aro, among others is not only tough for motorists but even the commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as Okada, who populate the axis.

On a daily basis, thousands of Okada riders ply their trade in that axis. It appears the most accessible mode of transportation for residents of the above-mentioned communities in view of the deplorable condition of access roads linking the communities to Lagos State.

Over the years, the high influx of people into Lagos and the concomitant high cost of rents in the state has made Ogun the next destination for people looking to have roofs over their head. This has led to massive investment in the real estate in Ogun. In addition, many middle- and low-income people working in Lagos have one structure or the other in several Ogun communities.

Abandoned Akute Bridge occupied by beggars

 

From Ojodu in Lagos, one can easily access Ogun State, ditto Ishaga-Oke Aro under Ifo Local Government Area.

But residents and inhabitants of the communities battle with the deplorable condition of the roads which they said have hampered the socio-economic development of the areas and the state in general, saying the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state would have been shored up as a result of the Presidential visit.

It would be recalled that Senator Ibikunle Amosun, as governor of the state, took a bold step towards ending the cries of residents with the commencement of the 42-kilometer Sango-Ojodu-Akute-Alagbole highway in Ifo and Ado-Odo/Ota Local Governments. However, this could not be completed despite several assurances.

For the residents and visitors to the area, the sight of the abandoned bridge which forms part of the road project is a cause for concern. Many residents say the bridge has become an abode for men of the underworld.

The Ogun State government had in 2013 commenced the construction of the road from Ojodu to Oke Aro, starting with clearing properties on the right of way. Many properties were demolished to accommodate the dualization of the road despite resistance from property owners.

Since the project was started, it has been stalled several times. The project was practically abandoned prior to the 2015 election when the then governor was warming up for his re-election.

Following complaints by the residents that the work had been neglected for more than two years, the contractors were re-mobilized. But throughout the second term of the former governor, the project was fully completed only up to Yakoyo Bridge.

From Yakoyo down to Alagbole, Akute, Ajuwon down to Sango, the road has deteriorated badly, becoming a nightmare to motorists and pedestrians.

In fact, motorcycles which many residents use on a daily basis from Berger, Grammar School, among others have become unsafe, according to residents.

Recently, a commercial motorcyclist was crushed to death by a trailer trying to navigate through the bad portions of Alagbole. The Okada rider, it was learnt, was a foreigner from Cameroun who was said to have come to Lagos to “hustle.”

One of the Okada riders, who spoke with our correspondent confirmed that plying the Alagbole-Akute-Ajuwon road on a daily basis is risky due to the bad road. He said it is even worse during the rainy season.

A resident of Akute, Mr. Segun Alonge in a chat with Daily Trust Saturday said, “We have been appealing to the Ogun State Government to complete this project. Before Amosun left, he promised that this road would be completed up to Sango but today the project has been abandoned. Go to Alagbole bridge, there is a portion of that road which has become a death trap. Accidents happen there on a daily basis.”

When our correspondent visited Akute bus-stop, the bridge had been taken over by makeshift shops, Okada riders, tricycle riders, beggars and traders. Also, a portion under the bridge has been turned to a car park.

It was observed that some girders have been constructed while the deck has been built up to some portions.

Residents said a part of the bridge has become an abode for criminals, especially at night. An Okada rider at Akute, Vincent Maddu told our correspondent that the bridge is notorious for all sorts of criminal activities.

Daily Trust Saturday observed that many shops around Alagbole-Akute are covered by dust. As the rainy season approaches, the residents remain apprehensive, expecting the worst. This is why they have intensified their appeal to the state government to prioritize the road.

With many Lagosians and residents of Ogun State erecting structures in the Akute-Alagbole-Lambe community, the population of people residing in the area has tripled over the years. Again, in terms of rent payment, houses are relatively affordable in the community which explains why many people are rushing there.

Daily Trust Saturday gathered that rent is gradually skyrocketing. Before, you could get a one-bedroom apartment for N150,000 to N200,000 but now it is around N350,000, close to what you get in Ojodu axis.

But despite the high volume of people relocating to the area, the state of the road is still a source of concern. 

A resident of Akute, Alagba Adekola, said he is now the only tenant in a building of six flats. “We have a huge volume of vacancy rates now because many people could not cope with the difficulty of navigating that axis, especially when returning from work.

Checks by our correspondent indicate that from the popular Lambe Junction, it is just about 10km to Ogba. However, motorists said they spend up to two hours on the road because of the deplorable state.

“We the Okada riders pay a monthly N200m charge to the state government but you ask yourself, what are they doing with the money,” asked an Okada rider.”

Two other Okada riders also confirmed independently that they pay N200m while each Okada rider pays between N1,800 and N2,200 every day to the union.”

A union leader in Ifo Local Government in a chat with our correspondent said the monthly remittance to the state government was recently jacked up to N200m. “We pay other taxes and charges in addition to the daily levy yet we are not getting anything in return,” he said.

Also, a bus driver plying Akute-Oke Aro who identifies himself simply as Mr. Andrew said the bad condition of roads within Ogun-Lagos border communities has shortened the lifespan of their vehicles, noting that they frequently visit mechanic workshops.

In between Akute bus-stop and the abandoned bridge is the palace of Alakute of Akute land (the traditional ruler of Akute), Oba Idowu Akindele, who is also deeply concerned about the neglect of the road which he noted would have stopped people from going to Lagos before accessing other parts of Ogun State especially.

He said, “This road was started by the immediate past governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun. He started it during his first term from Berger and he did it for eight years but there is no third term, this is the point he could reach. If there were to be a third term, he would have done more work. However, this is what he could accomplish before his two terms ran out.

“We have been appealing to the new government of Governor Dapo Abiodun to continue the project from where Governor Amosun stopped. Even as of December last year, it was still mentioned as part of the things he would do for us but we are still hoping.

“We don’t have any assurance yet that the government will do something about this road. This is the only road that links us to Abeokuta. But if we want to go out, we would have to get to Lagos first before getting to Ogun which is not supposed to be. We would have to link Ishaga, Abule Egba to Abeokuta or go to Berger before we can get to Abeokuta. However, with this road, we will link it from Ijoko straight to Abeokuta without getting to Lagos.”

He said the situation would be worse when the rain starts, adding, “The rain has not started. When the rain starts, it will be a very big problem. There will be nowhere to go through. One cannot use a car for up to six months on this road with the way it is. So, when car owners manage to get to this point, they park somewhere and take a bike to wherever they are going.

“If they repair this road, it would even boost the revenue of Ogun State. When the roads are not good, no establishments can be set up here. This is the problem we have here. We cannot even boast of a single tarred road. It is also causing an increase in crime rate.”

Observers say Lagos State which borders Ogun has done its bit by constructing virtually all the roads within the Lagos-Ogun borders. It would be recalled that in April 2018, the then government of Akinwunmi Ambode in one day inaugurated the 21 Lagos-Ogun boundary roads.

They include Ikola Road with Odo Obasanjo Bridge – 6.4km (from Ipaja/Command to Ilo River); Ogunseye Road – 1.75km (from Ajasa/Command to Ikola Road);Oko Filling Road – 1.5km (from AIT to Ilo River).

Others are; Osenatu Ilo road – 620m (from Ibari Road to Ilo River); Amikanle road – 3.1km (from AIT to Ogunseye Road); Aina Aladi road – 1.9km (from AIT to Ilo River) and Aiyetoro Road with a bridge– 1.4km (from New Market/Ishefun Road intersection to Ilo River). But the Ogun State portions of the roads have been long abandoned, leaving the residents in a precarious state.

There was no immediate response from the state on the status of the Ogun boundary roads as the Commissioner for Works, Mr. Ade Akinsanya, who was contacted on phone did not pick his calls while a text message sent to him was not replied after a week before sending this report.

A source however told our correspondent that the Ogun State government is hoping to leverage on the recently inaugurated Lagos-Ogun Joint Development Commission to construct the Lagos-Ogun boundary roads which fall under the state.

Until this plan materialises, the people of the areas would continue to endure deplorable road networks.

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