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‘Promise and fail’ overhead bridge leaves Sango/Ota commuters with loud lamentation

Of interest to a keen observer of the situation around the fly-over being constructed at the Sango-Ota junction by the federal government are the diverse…

Of interest to a keen observer of the situation around the fly-over being constructed at the Sango-Ota junction by the federal government are the diverse effects of large number of vehicles (particularly heavy duty vehicles with heavy loads) on streets within Sango and Ota Township.

Apart from putting a damaging pressure on the by-passes and streets that are mainly without drainages in this community, the inability of the government to complete the overhead bridge, as promised when it was started, has also left a permanent scar in the memory of hundreds of thousands of residents of Sango, Ota, Ijoko and several settlements in this part of Ogun State.

Some of the problems being experienced by residents of the area are of free vehicular movement, massive human traffic, environmental pollution, illegal markets on the highway, erosion, extortion by touts and local government officials and so on.

Sango, being a nexus town, vehicles must pass through it to Abeokuta the capital of Ogun State, Idi-Iroko border town en-route Benin Republic, Ifo township, Ilaro, Papa-Lanto and quite a few rural communities, which are destinations of many passengers passing the highway.

However, for the fact that the Sango bridge has remained uncompleted  since 2006 when the contractor moved to site, some ingenious drivers who ought to pass through the bridge or underneath  now make diversions at Dalemo area (about 500 metres to the bridge), meandering through streets within Sango and Ota township.

Some streets in Sango and Ota township in Ado/Odo Local Government Area of Ogun State, in recent years and up till today, have become major ‘highways’ for both intra and inter-state transportation, as more vehicular movements are recorded on them than any highway or township roads in the country.  

Oodua Trust observed that Ilo-Ota road, Dalemo-Iloye road, Iloye-Leventis road, Dalemo-Arigbabu road and Dalemo Sabaina Taiwo road that are made for light vehicles.

One of the concerned residents of the area, Alhaji Habibat Ayinde, a foodstuff seller along Ilo-Ota road, complained that non-completion of the Sango-bridge has led to deplorable condition of roads and streets within Sango and Ota township.

“We are not happy with the turn of events regarding the construction of the Sango bridge. So many lives have been lost due to regular vehicular accidents of trailers that bring materials for companies in Ota. The state government needs to come and assist us now because we are approaching the rainy season when the roads here used to be not motorable”, she said.

Also having a sad story about their businesses as a result of circuitous journey to Sango/Ota township are motorcyclists and drivers of commercial vehicles who are forced to cruise round the pothole ridden, windy and dusty streets in order to get their passengers to their destinations. Salami Morufdeen, a commercial bus driver who plies Sango-Agege route  said, apart from taking a heavy toll on his fuel each day, “The shortcuts we take to get to Sango are not good roads and our vehicles often get damaged while drivers suffer from body pains after  a day’s work.”

Efforts to speak with the Chairman of Ado/Odo Local Government on what the council has been doing to provide a palliative measure for motorists.  However, an official in the Department of Works, who asked not to be named, said the leadership of the local council was not ready to reconstruct the damaged streets and roads.

The official argued that not until the yet to be completed bridge was fixed to lessen the number of vehicles that pass through the inner Sango and Ota township,  rehabilitation of the damaged roads inside the township would be difficult. He added that the cost of asphalt, the major ingredient for road construction, was quite high to the extent that the council could not waste scarce funds, knowing fully well that the first solution was the completion of the Sango Bridge.

The council worker revealed that poor accessibility to the heart of Sango and Ota township affected the revenue generation potential of the local government. He said since the Sango bridge construction began a couple of years ago, it had become extremely difficult  to collect rates from shops because many of the shops had been demolished to give way for the construction of the bridge.

Oodua Trust recalls that four years ago, the construction giant Julius Berger Plc the firm handling the construction of overhead bridge in Sango/Ota, assembled its sophisticated machinery, technicians and a group of technologists to start the construction of the fly-over  in Sango. Then, the people of the township and the surrounding communities were ecstatic that with the farm of former President Olusegun Obasanjo nearby, the multi billion naira projects would be completed on schedule. However, the glee that greeted the commencement of the bridge did not last long, as construction work on the overhead bridge stopped abruptly, making accessibility to Ota township, the major industrial centre of Ogun State, a headache.

After hues and cries from members of the public over abandoned project, last year, the federal government intervened and promised to complete the abandoned bridge. Shortly after the government’s decision on the project was made public, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, visited the site, promising that it ought to have been completed in December last year.

Our correspondent’s visit to the site of the project last week showed that much still has to be done to ensure the dream of a functioning overhead bridge in Sango/Ota becomes a reality.

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