TOPE OMOGBOLAGUN and PERCY ANI write about the difficulties faced by residents living in communities with deplorable roads in Ogun State
It was a wet morning when Saturday PUNCH visited the Sango area in the Ado-odo Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State. The journey which would have lasted an hour took over three hours as the driver, Mr Johnson Adigun, battled with his vehicle’s wheels navigating his way amid potholes and mud signposting the terrible roads between Akute in Ifo council area through Sango.
Adigun lamented that he had spent N10, 000 on the bus in a week, adding that he and his colleagues were tired of what they had to go through plying the bad roads on a daily basis.
He said, “One of the reasons why the transport fare to this area is high is because of the bad roads, I must fix one or two things in my vehicle every week. We avoid the major road because of traffic and this road which is supposed to serve as an alternative route is nothing to write home about. We used to do seven trips a day before, but now we do three to four trips due to low passenger turnout.”
More motorists lament
More motorists plying the Akute roads bemoaned the unending traffic on the route caused by the poor state of the road. The motorists said that the development had created serious hardship and affected their daily earnings.
A motorist, Mr Sanni Aliu, who plies the Akute road, stated that the deplorable state of the road had affected his business.
Aliu said, “This has been the pain we go through every year. It’s unfortunate we keep battling with the bad road every year, especially when it rains. Government should fix it once and for all. Business has been slow; the traffic is really affecting us. As you can see, there are not many buses on the road. Most drivers have gone to ply other routes and even the people prefer other routes or shun buses because of the state of the road.’’
The effect of the bad road isn’t only felt by motorists but commuters also have nasty stories on the situation.
A commuter, Mrs Hannah Odunlami, said that the Akute-Lambe-Oke-Aro-Agbado-Abule Ijoko-Ogba Ayo roads had become impassable especially during the rainy season.
A commercial tricycle rider who conveys passengers from Lambe to Akute, Joseph Ajisafe, lamented the deplorable state of the roads, stating that he couldn’t recall a time when the roads were ever in good condition. He added that because of the state of the roads, he now had to make use of in-roads within the area to get to Akute.
Ajisafe said, “Usually, from Lambe junction, I can use the Ijoko road to continue my journey to Akute but because the Ijoko road is now in a horrible condition, I have to make a diversion using the Powerline Street to connect roads leading to Akute. This detour adds to the length of the journey and I have to spend more money on buying fuel. Even the in-roads most of us are forced to take are not in a good condition, they are just a little better than the Ijoko road. After doing all these repairs, I do not make anything substantial enough to sustain me and my family.”
The helpless cries of residents
The roads in Agbado axis are an eyesore including those in Abule-Ijoko and Ogba Ayo. The state of living is poor and residents live in pain unsure of when the pain would lessen.
Both during and after the rainy season, they endure hardship worsened by rainy seasons; bad roads compete with murky waters.
From Alagbole, Akute, Ajuwon, Akute, Lambe, Giwa Oke-Aro, Matogun, Oke-Aro, Agbado Oja, Abule Ijoko to Ogba Ayo, the eyesore passing as roads continue to cause residents of the area suffering.
A resident of Abule-Ijoko, Mrs Grace Oluwadare who lamented the hardship they undergo in the communities, stated that the roads had caused untold suffering.
“When you envisage the stress of getting to your house, especially when it rains, you won’t want to go home, ’’she said.
Oluwadare who is a teacher said that her family moved to the area in 2014 upon completion of their house in the area.
She said, “The journey to Sango should take less than 15 minutes but even in an hour one would still be on the road. The suffering is too much; one has to leave the house early to meet an appointment because of the state of the roads.”
Oluwadare noted that most times motorists, especially commercial bus drivers, explore inner streets to navigate their ways.
She added, “Many of us don’t even pass through the main road anymore. We now pass through the back of the street after making several turns. Many of us don’t take our vehicles out. We usually make use of motorcycles and tricycles to hasten our trips. Even at that, we still go through hell.’’
Another resident, living at Abule-Ijoko, Mr James Olujorin, said that he hardly went home because of the poor state of the road after closing from work.
He said, “I stay in town with a friend and go home on weekends. The Abule-Ijoko road is a major concern for motorists and residents. I work at Ikeja and live at Ijoko. Before I built my house and moved in, I lived in Ipaja. After I moved into the area, the then governor, IbikunleAmosun commissioned the road before leaving office. I was glad that hope had come little did we know that it was a false hope. Now, nothing seems to have been done by his successor, Dapo Abiodun.
“After I close from work, I would face the deplorable road after spending hours in traffic. After doing that for two years, with no hope, I devised a means by not going home every day. I usually go home only on weekends. Of course, my family is bearing the situation but that is the sacrifice they have to make. Most of those who work on the Island do that too. I plan to move out of the area soon.’’
It is the same tales of woes from those residing in Agbado area and Giwa-Oke Aro where there are abandoned flyovers.
One of our correspondents observed that potholes caused by excavating of the roads had become the residue to rain drops making the roads an eyesore. Agbado is a nightmare to everyone either living or driving through the area. The road has collapsed and commuters including motorists spend hours getting to their offices and homes on a daily basis.
A resident, Mr Saliu Yusuf, popularly called Alhaji, said the roads had worsened passage for vehicles and made life unbearable for residents.
“The state of the bad road is really affecting many things including our health, finances and safety. It has always been like this. There is nothing we haven’t done to get the government to help us fix the road. Whenever it rains, the whole place is usually flooded and it affects the free flow of traffic. People who come here often wonder if it’s human beings who live in this place. We have written letters to the state government many times to repair the failed portions of the road but nothing was done,’’ Yusuf added.
More residents in the communities with deplorable roads called on Governor Dapo Abiodun to come to their rescue by fixing the roads.
A customer relations officer with a firm in the Ifo council area, Mrs Remi Jacobs, pleaded with the government to come to their aid.
She said, “I want the governor to help us put an end to the hardship we face in our communities. The governor should get first-hand reports of the true condition of the roads and not depend on feedback from politicians in the communities.
“The situation is worse during the rainy season because of the swampy soil, making the road impassable for motorists and others. The alternative inner streets, which are not tarred, have also become messy from the impact of the number and size of vehicles plying them. It’s been tough for us.”
A trader at Agbado junction, Mrs Kemi Adebayo, also lamented that the poor state of roads had really made her business to dwindle.
She said, “The challenges involve the cost of goods and transportation. When we buy goods, we pay so much to bring in the goods from where we buy them. We are tired and when we complain; the commercial drivers will say that the roads are bad and it is a fact. Many commercial drivers don’t even want to ply the roads anymore and those who do charge more.
“We are begging whoever can help us to fix the roads. We have suffered so much loss on the road. It will not cost the government so much to repair the bad portions. But the government abandoned us to our plight.’’
In the same vein, a frozen foods trader at the Jolasco market, along the Akute-Ijoko road, Comfort Obasohan, said the bad roads had adversely affected business in the area. She said that transporting her goods from where she buys them to the market now costs more than they used to pay because of the terrible state of the roads.
Obasohan stated, “Transporting my goods costs a lot more now than before because the drivers who deliver them to the market charge more. When some drivers hear that we are taking the goods to Akute or Lambe, most of them will refuse to take them there. In fact, those who do often charge exorbitant rates and we have no choice than to haggle and pay after pleading.’’
She said that to make a profit, she has to add extra cost to the price of her goods and most of her customers complain about the prices. She added that because the roads are bad, some of her customers who live elsewhere no longer come to the market to buy from her as they have opted instead to patronise the markets around them. “I do not blame them because it’s expensive to repair one’s vehicle after using the roads in these areas,” she said.
Bad roads fast becoming den of robbers
Some residents of Agbado, Abule-Ijoko and Olambe area are living with the double jeopardy of the bad roads that daily ensures traffic moves at a snail’s pace, and also having to battle insecurity.
Olujorin noted that many of the residents usually avoid plying inner routes in the areas at night to avoid attack by hoodlums.
He said, “We can’t pass the inner streets which often serve as alternative roads once it is past 6pm. Hoodlums stop bikes and collect passengers’ valuables.’’
Also, a resident of Olambe community, Festus Akanbi, stated that the bad state of the road had made many of the residents stop using their cars. He added that because hoodlums were aware that the road was bad, they often seized the opportunity to wreak havoc in the community.
He stated, “The road is in a bad state and because the robbers are aware that the state of the road is poor and the people find it difficult to access the police station, they come to the community from time to time to carry out operations.
“The state of the road also makes it impossible for the people to access good health care. The ditch in the middle of the road has separated them from the rest of the community.”
He added, “The abandoned bridge at the Giwa area has been taken over by flood and sand, forcing us to abandon our vehicles and resort to motorcycles. We have appealed to the government through various means. The Ogun State government should prioritise projects based on the economic values and reach. Olambe, Akute, Giwa, Oke-Aro, Matogun and others have more number of residents and stand to benefit the state more. ”
Residents flee homes due to bad roads
In the Ifo council areas where the communities are located, some house owners have relocated, renting out their houses due to the hardship they face commuting daily to the areas.
Disturbed by large potholes, muddy and slippery portions, the roads in Lambe and Akute are in a terrible shape.
At the Akute junction, Oke Aro and Agbado including Ogba-Ayo stand uncompleted bridges that should help ease traffic for commuters. The one in Akute Junction has turned into a beggars’ colony, motor park and trading arena.
The bad drainage in both areas further worsens the dilemma of residents and motorists in Lambe and Akute areas particularly during the rainy season when the roads get submerged in water and residents have to wade through the dangerous roads.
A resident in Akute, 28-year-old IT technician, Olanrewaju Akinola, who said he recently bought his first car, stated that his family owns a house in Lambe and lived there for some years before they eventually returned to their hometown.
He stated, “Since my older siblings were married and moved out of the place, I was the only one left in the house. I work on the mainland and moving to and from Lambe has been tough. The roads are so bad that I spend over 20 minutes sometimes commuting from my house at Lambe to Akute; a journey that should take less.’’
Akinola said that since he bought his car, he now chooses when to come home as the rainy season is one of the worst times to traverse the bad roads. He said, “Most times, I spend the night at a family or friend’s place in Surulere. Since the rains came, I’ve completely stayed off Akute and its environs. I don’t want to damage my car in the mud and terrible roads. I understand what these roads can do to a person’s vehicle. I do not think I can afford the cost of repairing the vehicle every month, especially since it is a saloon car and I am familiar with the effects of driving a salon car on bad roads,” he said.
Akinola further said that he lived in the area since he was a child, adding that past administrations started works on the roads and abandoned them.
“I remember when the then governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, wanted to commence works on the Akute and Lambe roads. Many houses and shops were demolished to make way for the project. But years afterwards, the roads are not even nearing completion and residents go about their business with their hearts in their mouths because there have been accidents on the roads caused by the bad roads,” he said.
Another resident in the Lambe area, Taiwo Ajayi, said he was searching for a new house to escape from the headache that the roads had become.
Ajayi stated, “The rainy season is usually the scariest period for me and my wife as the roads get flooded and since our kids walk home from school, we fear something terrible might happen one day. Instead of living in fear, we made up our minds to move away from the area. The decision to find another dwelling is not a comfortable one for us now because both my wife and I have our businesses in the area. But we have to move away and also change schools for our three kids. Other people in this area work in Lagos but because of the state of the roads, many of them are now moving away.’’
He further stated that there have been accidents that could have been avoided if the roads were in good condition.
Ajayi added, “From Akute, Ajuwon, Giwa, Oke-Aro, Matogun, Agbado, Abule-Ijoko to Ogba-Ayo, the roads are in a terrible shape. There are parts of the roads that are so bad that no vehicle or motorcycle can pass through them and the drivers have to use inroads. A few months ago, a tricycle fell over close to the abandoned bridge at Akute. Luckily, no deaths occurred but the passengers sustained injuries. This is just one case among many that occur every week on the roads.”
Tragedies have also been recorded on the dilapidated roads. On September 13, 2020, a resident, Kamilu Adetoye and his wife, Rofiat Adetoye, were returning from their workplace in the Agidingbi area of Lagos that day when the couple fell into an open drainage channel some distance from their residence on Idowu Ademiluyi Street, Adiyan, Ogun State.
While Rofiat was lucky to have been rescued by bystanders, flood swept away her husband, who was in his 50s. The next morning, his corpse was found in Agbado, a neighbouring community, much to the consternation of his wife and five children who hoped he would have found helpers.
UGAMATV gathered that the poor state of the roads have also forced residents to relocate while some workers in Lagos living in the communities devised means of staying with families and friends and returning home only on weekends.
A landlord in the area, Mr. Yusuf Ayinde, lamented that the deplorable road situation in the communities especially during the rainy season triggered an increase in transportation fare and scared residents away.
Ayinde noted, “Due to the state of the road and the cost of transportation, many residents now run away. Both tenants and landlords have been moving out of the area in droves due to the collapsed roads. We are living here as if we don’t have a government. Our roads are in a pathetic situation. The potholes are an eyesore. Things must not continue like this.
“We are appealing to the government to help us. We pay taxes and levies. During elections, we come out en masse to vote but, in return, we are left with nothing except suffering.’’
When the administration of then Governor Ibikunle Amosun commenced a 32-kilometre road linking Sango with Berger in Lagos, everyone in the communities applauded the initiative. However, years after the flag-off of the job, the project was not completed before the administration’s tenure.
The project conceived during his first time was scheduled to start from Sango, running through Ijoko, Agbado, Giwa, Oke-Aro, Lambe, Alagbole to Ojodu Berger. But today, the road is in a terrible condition, requiring urgent attention.
The pitiable state of the road with abandoned bridges littering the areas has further compounded the frustration of the residents.
Akanbi lamented that the roads were particularly bad, adding that, “The roads have been in a bad state for a while. I have been staying in this community for a while. The roads have not necessarily been tarred but it was never in this bad state. This whole jeopardy started during the first tenure of Governor Ibikunle Amosun.’’
He added, “I took a random tour of the area and discovered that some long stretches of the road had been overtaken by flood as water and weeds now occupy the roads, making it difficult for small cars to access the area. The road is so dilapidated that one can see that cars can’t pass some parts of the roads. For instance, the road from Olambe to the main market in the area, Jolasco market has been torn into two by water and weeds. The collapse of the road also inhibits them from approaching the Ajuwon Police Station in time of distress.’’
The roads were commissioned differently by past administrations but they had remained in a terrible shape without any construction works done on them.
A community leader in the area, Chief Edward Omoruyi, bemoaned the unending hardship residents endure as a result of the bad roads.
The septuagenarian, who called on the state government to find a solution to the situation, said the bad roads continued to pose health and security risks to the residents apart from the socio-economic dilemma.
“The road project started by the last administration is important; it serves as an escape route from the routine traffic on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway. But the deplorable state of the roads is not good for anybody’s health. In the case of any emergency, the bad road network makes it difficult to access health facilities,’’ he said.
Omoruyi said that if the roads were completed, they would open up the communities to better socio-economic opportunities particularly as Ogun and Lagos States share borders.
He said, “If these constructions are completed, residents will benefit from it. Development will come up and taxes generated for Ogun. If the appropriate amenities, especially good roads, are in place, considering its proximity to Lagos, it would definitely open up big business opportunities. Government in turn would have taxes and levies to collect.”
Commenting on the development, the state Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr Ade Akinsanya, said that the government was still on the road projects, adding that but for finance which was a major concern to the governor, he would have completed the projects.
He said, “We are working on completing the projects. It’s one of our big projects in the state and it’s been a source of concern to Governor Dapo Abiodun. The governor has instructed us to provide palliatives for the people. He is concerned about the people and the fact that the projects have been abandoned for a while.”
Asked when the projects would commence, the commissioner stated that he would not be able to say because funding was the major cause of delay.
Akinsanya said, “I don’t know, but if you give me N24bn, you can be sure the projects will be completed in the soonest possible time. The major issue for the projects has been funding but pending the time we get the needed funds, the governor has instructed that we provide alternatives for the people.”