A public outcry is swelling up in parts of Lagos and Ogun States as stakeholders in Ikorodu division and parts of Ogun State complained of dashed hopes following the discovery that the much anticipated Ikorodu to Shagamu road project awarded by the Federal Government this year as a dual carriage way is but a single lane road merely expanded a little.
Drivers, commuters, residents and other stakeholders are daily voicing out their concerns, frustration and condemnation of this road work being executed by Arab Contractors as they experience traffic bottlenecks between AP/White House Bus stops at Odogunyan and 2nd LASPOTECH gate, where the width of the proposed road has already been defined and is causing delays.
Correspondents from Oriwu Sun visited the construction site and spoke with some of the concerned citizens on the twenty billion Naira road project flagged off in June this year by Works Minister, Mr. Babatunde Fashola with fanfare, jubilation and expectation, but which today seems to be a different ball game. According to the reports gathered, residents and motorists in Ikorodu have protested the alleged plan by the Federal Government to construct a single lane on the Ikorodu Shagamu road, which is currently under rehabilitation.
The protest was coming on the heel of the current state of construction work going-on on the road, which, according to the residents, is taking the form of a single lane. The residents explained that the excitement, which they felt when the road was flagged off some months ago when it was announced that it would be expanded to six (6) lanes, have been cut short with the alleged plan by the Federal Government to construct a single lane. At the flag off ceremony, the job description was announced as 30.4km for the length, 11.65km for rigid pavement, 18.5km for the flexible pavement and 25km for drainage while the project period was 36months.
The concern of the residents was, however, confirmed when Oriwu Sun recently embarked on the inspection of the project. From the Fish Farm Estate near LASPOTECH’s second gate, where the construction works started, to where it currently stops at the Sherifit Hotel, close to the White House bus stop, Odogunyan, as at the time of filing this report, nothing suggests a six (6) lane design as the work done so far reflects a single lane design while the space on both sides of the road, which could have been used for further expansion, have been used to construct drainages.
The controversy, which has spread like wild fire into the nooks and crannies of the communities, has also been taken to the social media, especially those related to Ikorodu division, where many residents have added their opinions, many of which accused the Buhari led Federal Government and the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, (SAN), of short-changing the people of the division by attempting to construct a single lane instead of a six (6) lane road for a rapidly growing population.
Part of the news circulating on the social media, captioned, “Ikorodu-Shagamu Road as a Fraud! Let’s Protest the Injustice”, read in part, “It is distasteful that the road is just being reconstructed into a one lane road. Making it one lane will stifle development and also lead to frequent accidents. It clearly shows Federal Government’s short-sightedness and non-futuristic approach to development. By this, Lagos and Ogun State residents have been short changed and less cared for.”
The statement reads further, “Interestingly, a section of the road, which Ogun State Government was constructing before the Federal Government took over, was two lanes. It is worrisome that the Federal Government did not see sense and wisdom in the Ogun State Government’s plan to dualize it.” The release, which source cannot be verified as at the time of filing this report, condemned what it termed as disservice and disregard to people’s welfare and suffering of the poor residents of Ikorodu and Shagamu communities.
Sponsors of the online campaign have called on residents of Ikorodu and Shagamu communities and the civil society groups to protest the perceived injustice. They also called on political office holders in the two communities to also add their voice and use their good offices to protest the injustice to appropriate government quarters. However, residents have equally stated that the plan to expand the road to six (6) lanes could have been reconsidered as a result of the location of pipelines close to the road.
Meanwhile, while speaking with Oriwu Sun, Mrs. Kikelomo Modupe, a resident of Odogunyan, said that based on the work done so far at Odogunyan, there is nothing that suggests that the road would be expanded to six (6) lanes, particularly with the construction of drainages on both sides, which has narrowed the road. She, however, urged the government to fulfill its promise of expanding the road to six (6) lanes and also hasten the rehabilitation work. Another resident, Mr. Gbenga Atoye, in his own reaction, berated the Federal Government for retaining the single lane status of the road in the on-going rehabilitation work. He stated that the road, as it is presently, is not spacious enough to allow for free flow of traffic, which is a regular feature on the road. He urged the Government to at least expand the road to four (4) lanes, which would help in reducing the traffic bottle necks along the axis.
Mr. Ayoola Adebamgbe also said that in contrast to people’s expectation for the expansion of the road, the government is only repairing the road and constructing drainages. He urged the government to fulfil its promise of expanding the road to six (6) lanes since it is part of the contract awarded for the rehabilitation of the road. Mr. Rasaq Enitolounmo, a resident of Ikorodu, said that it is painful that the government is not fulfilling its promise to the people after raising their hope. He queried why a huge sum of money was earmarked for the rehabilitation of the road if it would not include expansion work. Mr. Enitolounmo called for immediate stoppage of the construction work currently on-going on the road and re-designing it to reflect the lanes promised by the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, Hon. Jimi Benson, Ikorodu division’s representative at the Lower House of the National Assembly, who was among those who lobbied for the award of this road contract, has voiced his opinion. He said the road is indeed an expanded single road contract which, according to him, is funded piece meal. He disclosed that the N21billion for the road project is not provided fully this year but will run for three years. He, however, could not explain why the road, which the Ogun State Government had started last year as a double lane road, would shrink to a single lane, which it had been for several decades, and why a 30km single lane road, crossing no river, no mountains, and no valleys would cost as much as 21billion naira and take three years to build.
Also, Mr. Alabi Victor Kayode, Arab Contractor Administrative Officer, while reacting to the issue in a brief telephone interview with Oriwu Sun, said that the road is being constructed based on the design given to them by the Federal government, adding that the Federal Government gave the them a design of a single lane and not four lane.