Fear grips contractors, residents over Lagos road projects
This may not be the best of times for motorists in Lagos because of the deplorable state of roads in the metropolis. From the Mainland to the Island, the story is the same as the roads are neglected and abandoned by both state and local governments. Although efforts were recently made to fix the major roads, many in the local councils are however impassable with features of crater-size potholes and eroded surfaces.
The councils worse hit are Ojokoro, Ibeju-Lekki and Mopo 1 in the Eti-Osa area of Lagos Alimosho, Isolo, Oshodi, Ejigbo, Surulere, Ojo, Alaba, Bariga, Ketu and Mushin. The Guardian learned that the inability of Governor Akinwumi Ambode to secure the second term in office is exacerbating the situation. Before the All-Progressive Congress (APC) governorship primaries, where the governor contested and lost to Jide Sanwoolu, there were concerted efforts to fix the roads and indeed, there were massive construction works across the state. In fact, the entire state was a huge construction site.
However, that is not the same now as some contractors have abandoned their posts for the fear of not been paid. Not even the promise that works will be resumed after the rains have been fulfilled as residents wait in vain to see their roads repaired or completed in all nook and crannies of the metropolis. Even the ambitious move by the state government to construct 181 councils’ roads across the state was not spared. The councils, where they programme three roads each and pick one is now a foregone conclusion without any knowledge of when the second phase would kick off. Then, those neglected in the distribution of the infrastructure were hopeful, but all that has changed as they foresee bad days ahead.
A resident in Ire-Akari estate, Alhaji Saliu Sobowole said, the craters on the Isolo areas are so great that motorists now avoid the ever-busy Mushin Road, as the potholes on the road have become a serious threat to them.Those of them that dare the dangerous potholes always have a sad tale to tell as their vehicles usually break down. Sobowale said residents had thought the roads would be fixed now that the rainy season is almost gone and the yuletide period fast approaching.
The situation is not different at Agege Motor Road, as motorists are not spared of this harrowing experience.The Mushin-Idi-Oro axis towards Ojuelegba end is also in a terrible state.When the state government embarked on rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads in February, the aim was to open up the state and allowed economic growth.
To jump-start construction activities on the proposed councils’ roads, the State government disbursed N5.563 billion to successful contractors, who bidded for the project last year. The benefiting contractors were among the over 1,000 building and civil engineering contractors, who tendered for the road contracts last year. In the road projects, being bankrolled by the government, at least three roads were selected from the 20 local councils and 37 local council development areas in the state.
The State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Ade Akinsanya said the roads would be constructed in phases. The commissioner stressed that the amount released, was 30 percent payment for the construction of the 57 roads, while the total cost of the roads stands at N18.545billion.
Some of the roads earmarked for construction include Ilesha Road in Itire-Ikate local council development area; Ikereku/Fadehaun Streets and Folashade Street, Alakuko in Ojokoro LCDA; Modele/Matthew Street in Surulere Local council; Ajakaye Road/College Road in Ojo Local council; Alaba Rago road in Iba local council development area; Ifoshi Street in Ejigbo and Taiwo/Tapa Street road in Bariga local council development area.
It was also gathered that the construction works include drainages, streetlights, and walkways. But investigations by The Guardian showed that though there was some degree of construction works on some of the roads picked but many of them are now in bad shapes in the local councils visited. In some of the places, the contractors after completing the drainages have left the site.
The situation is not different in Ikeja, Ogba, Ojodu, Oshodi, Gbagada, Abule-Egba, Iyana Ipaja, Agege local councils and other parts of the metropolis. A resident in Alakuko, Mr. Seun Adewale, said if much were done, the roads would not have been in such a deplorable state. Adewale noted that the local roads should have aided free movement for residents, who are suffering from disruptions as a result of works on major roads.
Motorists at Matori and Papa Ajao areas in Mushin council are also craving for the relief, stressing that it takes extra care from them to maneuver the roads whenever it rains.
But the State Commissioner for information, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan said construction works have been going on and will continue contrary to the public outcry that works have been abandoned. According to him, works only slowed done during the rainy season when it rains, it washes the granites. Bamigbetan said works would resume when the weather is stable sun bot at the level of the state and various contractors working on the roads.
On the 181 road projects, he stressed that one road each from the listed three was chosen in the first phase across the local. The commissioner hinted that many of the roads have been completed and promised to give a comprehensive list of the roads and their state of completion. He, however, did not supply them at the time of going to the press.