By Yemi Olakitan
Lagos may pride itself as the commercial nerve centre of the world’s most populous black nation; it may claim to be a city of aquatic splendour and a mega city, yet it is a place bedeviled by bad roads.
While it is true that successive governments of Lagos State have through the years committed huge funds for the construction, rehabilitation and upgrade of roads in the city, including federal roads, the shape of most roads in Lagos still leaves much to be desired.
Many roads which were constructed or rehabilitated have now suffered degradation because of poor or lack of maintenance. Potholes, gullies, bumps and poor drainage channels are distinguishing features of not a few Lagos roads. The consequences of this situation include over-flooding of roads, heavy traffics which lead to huge loss of man-hours, damage to vehicles and accidents.
AN24 took trips through Ketu-Ojota and Mosalalashi roundabout in Ipaja to Ogba road in Agege; Lugard Avenue in Ikoyi to Ahmadu Bello Way in Victoria Island; Aguda in Surulere to Oba Akran Road in Ikeja; NNPC area in Ejigbo to inner city roads in Isolo and Mafoluku; and Oduduwa Crescent in Ikeja GRA to Anthony Village and Mende. Our findings show that Lagos streets just like its highways are an image of bad roads and dangerous water filled bowls that can break the backs of men, puncture tyres and even cause accidental deaths.
Samuel Adeola, a legal consultant who lives in Iju- Ishaga area of Lagos, told AN24 that the roads in Fagba were in good shape but called on the Lagos State Government to repair Pipeline Road, which he described as very bad. ‘‘Roads become bad with little potholes here and there but when these small potholes are not repaired immediately; they grow wide and become big craters. It’s a case of a stitch in time, saves nine. This is why I believe that we need permanent road maintenance workers in Lagos. We shouldn’t wait until the roads have become very bad and everyone is complaining before we take actions.’’ he said.
On why the roads get bad as soon as they are repaired, Adeola said, the Lagos State Government should try other alternatives to bitumen.
A resident of Lagos, Kolade Olaniran in his reaction, said, ‘‘I live in Oko-Afon, along the Badagry Expressway. I can tell you that our roads are very bad. We have potholes and craters everywhere especially in the inner streets. I have seen construction workers on the expressway recently, a sign that the Sanwoolu administration has started working but I doubt he will be able to have the much desired impact. To me, these are the roads that matter the most. Before you move to the Badagry-Expressway, you must drive through the inner streets first. We have potholes, craters everywhere. You should come during the rainy seasons. It’s like having lagoons at every junction. It’s that bad. The Lagos state Government should do the expressway first; that’s right. But they should not forget the inner city roads. They are equally deserving repairs,’’ he said.
A night club owner at Lekki-Epe axis, Lawrence Emiko spoke with AN24 on the state of roads in Lagos. He appealed to the Lagos state Government to carry out road constructions and repairs in the mid night, between the hours of 12 am to 4am, as vehicular movements are not heavy at that time. According to him, the hardships Lagosians go through as a result of road repairs during the day are best imagined. Speaking further, he said he was driving from Epe to Ajah recently and at a roundabout, he spent three hours on a trip that shouldn’t last more than 40 minutes under normal circumstances. Emiko said, the state government should do something about it.
Reacting particularly to the complaints about the situation of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola assured users of road that there was progress on the ongoing construction of the road and that they would enjoy a huge relief in 24 months.
Fashola said this in a telephone conversation during Your View, a programme on Television Continental, monitored by AN24. The former Lagos Governor explained that the government was aware of the sufferings of Lagosians on that road.
The minister said that even before the said 24 months, Lagosians would have some measure of relief on the road. He said a section of the construction work was being handled by the Federal Government while another portion of it was for Lagos State Government to handle.
He also said that he had requested the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) to work with the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority(LASTMA) to manage the traffic along the road.
AN24 spoke with the Deputy Director Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Adesegun Ogundeji on the condition of Lagos roads. He said the state government had begun working on various roads in spite of the unfavourable weather.