Last week, it was like hell was let loose in Lagos State as the Centre of Excellence was locked down in heavy traffic. Across the length and breadth of the state, it was a bad week for commuters and motorists as they spent several hours before getting to their destinations; so many spent over 6 hours in a journey of 30 minutes. The heavy gridlock witnessed on the major roads, as well as inland roads, brought unbearable hardship for Lagosians, who blamed their woes on bad state of the roads and torrential rain.
As one of the most congested cities in the world, it is on record that about 40 per cent of cars in Nigeria are registered in Lagos. Almost every major road in the city experiences traffic gridlock of various forms and magnitude.
Mildly put, some road users spend close to one fourth of their day in traffic, and these motorists have continually beckoned on government to work towards mending the roads in order to reduce the sufferings of the people of the state.
From the Mainland to the Island, to the densely populated Ikeja, Ijesha, Isolo to the highbrow Victoria Island, Lekki and Ikoyi, the embarrassing sight of dilapidated roads confronts you frontally, with many potholes disturbing the movement of vehicles as well as goods.
Similarly, Mushin-Ikotun Road, which is a long and narrow stretch connecting commercial and residential areas in the state had remained perpetually on lockdown.
A motorist who pleaded anonymity told Sunday Sun that every evening and when workers are returning from work, it is often a huge challenge navigating through Jakande Estate gate area to either Ikotun-Egbe or Ijegun.
Huge pothole at the estate gate area and a big crater at the NNPC junction area, hold down vehicles and prevent them from navigating easily through the road.
Repair works that were recently carried out in between Ile-Iwe Metta, Aye and Ire-Akari had been washed off. Same for Kogberegbe junction, Pako Roundabout, Jakande-Gate, NNPC Junction, Iyana-Ejigbo, Powerline bus stop, Agodo, Ile-Iwe and the descent inwards Ikotun roundabout. The narrative is not any different commuting from Ile-Iwe Ejigbo inwards Oke-Afa and Ajao Estate.
Crater-sized potholes and gullies have surfaced in most roads in the state and have prompted slow traffic and signposts a caution to most road users who are now vigilant as they ply these roads. Traffic robbers often take advantage of the dilapidated roads to dispossess motorists of their valuables and those who try to resist them end up with bloody mouth and sometimes serious life threatening injuries.
The ever-busy Ikorodu and Oshodi Apapa expresswas are not any different.
Failed portions dot most bus-stops, hindering free flow of traffic and some of the potholes are so dangerous on the road that unsuspecting motorists could easily jump into them that could result in the vehicle somersaulting.
From time to time, people have questioned the whereabouts of the state government and even the local governments.
According to Cosmas Igwe, a resident of Ajegunle in the Ajeromi Local Government Area of Lagos, the bad roads in Ajegunle is the worst in the entire Lagos State, especially as it has slowed down businesses and raised the cost of living.
Igwe, a commercial motorcyclists, said: “The situation is terrible, you cannot even ply this road safely everyday without encountering one incident or the other, there is no day one vehicle doesn’t get in this gully and get trapped.”
Similarly, Usman Husseni, another commercial cyclists, said that the deep gullies on the Cardoso-Mba road have prolonged the journey to Boundary Market in the heart of Ajegunle and also to Apapa.
He said that the fare for the journey has also increased, “but the suffering is too much that every day when I get home it will seem as if I had worked in a construction company, spending the whole day carrying sand and concrete.”
A commercial bus driver, Adepoju Boluwaji, said: “This road is the worst in the community. It has been like this for long and government has never cared to do anything about it, despite what we suffer, especially during rainy seasons. For more than 10 years now, Julius Berger (JB) construction company has been carrying out palliative on this road, but they have refused to do anything this time around. We are suffering here. I urge the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to come to our aid, just like he has been doing for other areas.”
For Lucky Imasuen, a commercial motorcyclist: “Our passengers do complain that we charge them high, but they fail to understand that this bad road is the cause of it. We urge the concerned authority to work on this road, or is it when one of these container-laden trailers fall on this road and kill people that they will fix the road?”
Indeed, the containers have been falling and killing innocent Nigerians, another residents told Sunday Sun, pointing to several incidents in the Kirikiri area of Lagos where bad roads and container-laden trucks had in a way imprisoned the residents.
The resident, Kingsley Onyechi, lamented that, “government seems to have forgotten us or may be this area is not part of Lagos. How do you explain a situation when you are returning home and you are driving and you cannot access your house, many residents have died in the precarious situation and we are calling on government to return sanity here.
“There are ways business could be done here in an orderly manner, look at our roads, deep gullies litter everywhere and yet we pay tax.”
Many Lagosians were of the opinion that the downpour of last week has exposed the government ineptitude in road maintenance as the roads were flooded, and drainages blocked, which led to traffic gridlock essentially occasioned by unmotorable roads.
Lamenting over the bad roads in the state, residents have called on the government to urgently commence works on them to lessen the burden they face every day.
According to Adeniyi Daramola, a Lagos resident, “government should not pretend not to know these roads, but if they do we can tell them that some of the inner roads, which commuters could have used to cut off the heavy gridlock on the expressway and some major roads, need to be fixed.
“For instance, many motorists trying to connect Ikotun and Igando areas of Lagos now enter from 7/8 bus-stop area to access Asa Afariogun in Ajao Estate, through to Chivita and Canoe, then to Idimu area from where they can connect Igando.
“But accessing Asa Afariogun through 7/8 on Airport road is difficult due to many potholes littering the area and these potholes slow down vehicular movement which cause heavy gridlock, stretching out to the Airport road and keeping commuter on the road for a longtime. The same with 7/8 to Isolo linking Iriakari Estate to link Okota road.
“If government can fix all the potholes between Asa Afariogun and Canoe, as well as Isolo-Iriakari road, then they would have brought relief to the commuters using the connecting routes thereby lessening the burden of the people.”
Mr Daramola pointed out the need for government to fix the Isolo-Mushin road and the Okota-Ejigbo road to ensure that residents in these areas get relief.
A big gully near Isolo Bridge had prevented motorists from using that road, another resident identified as Matthew Momoh toldSunday Sun.
According to him, motorists who could have easily go straight from there to Ejigbo are now forced to return to the Asawani road, which is also in bad shape.
He said that there is need for the government to quickly fix the deep gully and reopen the road for vehicles connecting Ejigbo from there to quickly pass through.
The other problematic areas are the NNPC Junction in front of the Ejigbo LCDA, and the Iyana Ejigbo area, where vehicles have to slow down to navigate the bad spot in these areas.
Responding to the cries of Lagos residents, the state government two weeks ago declared a state of emergency on various dilapidated highways and carriageways in the state.
Governor Sanwo-Olu ordered massive construction work on critical roads and highways across the state, beginning from last Monday.
His media aide, Gboyega Akosile said in a statement that, “after his final meeting with the contractors on Sunday, which lasted for about three hours, Sanwo-Olu declared the commencement of major construction work on the identified highways considered critical to the reduction of traffic congestion in the state. The governor said all the eight engineering firms had been given the mandate to immediately mobilise their equipment on the sites and commence major construction works on the identified roads.
“This afternoon, we have just concluded meeting with various reputable construction companies and all of them have been given the brief to immediately commence major construction work in various parts of the state. The exercise will begin tomorrow with palliative work on the selected roads, which are both on the Island and mainland divisions of the state.
“The contractors have been given the mandate to start mobilising their equipment to their respective sites without further delay. Their activities must first give our people an immediate relief on the affected roads so that there can be free flow of traffic even during the rehabilitation work.”
To complement the major construction work on the highway, Sanwo-Olu said that the Lagos State Public Works Corporation would be carrying out repairs of 116 inner roads across the state. This, he said, would be in addition to over 200 roads already rehabilitated by the corporation in the last three months.
The governor said he was not unaware of the pain experienced by road users in the past few days, which was compound by persistent downpour. He appealed to residents to bear with the government while efforts were being made to assuage their pains and bring permanent relief to them.
Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure, Aramide Adeyoye, have listed some of the critical highways and roads to be constructed to include Ojota stretch of the Ikorodu Road, Motorways-Kudirat Abiola Way, Apogbon Highway, Babs Animashaun Road, Agric/Ishawo Road and Ijede Road in Ikorodu, and Lekki-Epe Expressway from Abraham Adesanya to Eleko Junction.
She added that there would be massive re-construction work on a network of roads in Ikoyi, Ikeja GRA and Victoria Island.