Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway: Residents lament dilapidation, accidents, as FG explains measures

Residents of Ojokoro Low Cost Housing Estate in Meran, Lagos, have sent an SOS to the Federal Government over deaths caused by one-way driving due to failed portions of the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.

The residents made the appeal on Sunday alongside several other road users who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews in Lagos.

NAN reports that the failed portions of the highway start from the Sango-Otta-bound carriageway around ‘U’ turn at Abule-Egba, all the way to Toll Gate, which is the boundary between Lagos State and Ogun.

NAN further reports that potholes doting several portions compound gridlock, especially with rains and some vehicles resorting to driving against the Oshodi-bound carriageway traffic up till Toll Gate area.

NAN also observed that the service lane of the Oshodi-bound lane, around the popular Ile-Epo Market portion on the highway, had totally collapsed.

Mr Rasheed Ejalonibu, Chairman, Ojokoro Low Cost Housing Residents Association, told NAN that accidents caused by one-way driving along the Abule-Egba to toll gate corridor were on the rise, with his members as casualties.

“This is a serious challenge we are facing in this community, at least on weekly basis we experience one casualty as a result of one-way driving.

“In March, one of our residents was killed by a hit and run driver taking one-way. Recently, a boy going to a salon was also killed on the same road.

“We are seriously feeling the pains; if not accident, early morning robbery takes place, because some drivers would not want to follow one way for the danger it entails, but get robbed on the bad road by hoodlums.

“We are begging the Federal Government to come to our rescue as a matter of urgency, to fix the bad road so as to eradicate the lingering one way drive in that corridor,” he said.

Mr Olubowale Kasunmu, the Community Development Committee (CDC) Chairman in Agbado Oke-Odo Local Council Development Area (LCDA), also begged government to quickly fix the highway.

Kasunmu said the bad road had brought lots of inconveniences in addition to avoidable accidents.

He said that these result from either the bad road or motorists driving against traffic.

“These incessant challenges have put residents at risk on a daily basis.

“We want Federal Roads Maintenance Agency to wake up to their responsibility and fix the road for the betterment of the community.

“We have been passing through these challenges for the past 10 years.

“Formerly, it was the two lanes, but now, one lane has been fixed and the other was abandoned, which makes motorists follow one-way drive to toll gate from Meran axis,” he said.

A civil servant in the community, Mr Ahmed Oyasipe, joined other motorists to appeal to both Lagos State and federal governments to find lasting solutions to the dilapidated road, to safeguard lives and property.

Responding, the Director, Federal Highways, South West, Federal Ministry of Works, Mr Adedamola Kuti, said government had not abandoned the highway.

He said it had, rather, expanded scope of the construction contract for residents’ good.

“It is very unfortunate what is happening, but we want to assure our people on that axis that we have not forgotten them.

“Lagos-Otta-Abeokuta, we have not forgotten them, we are having some issues with the contract and we are trying to resolve the issues sorrounding that contract.

“Very soon, we shall resolve the issue surrounding the contract, then we would get back to work.

“The issue is that when the contract was awarded, the scope of work had changed over that period of time.

“We now have more state of disrepair along that axis and we are trying to, of course, get those planned,” he said.

He explained that because of cost variation in the additional contract, efforts were on towards coming up with a comprehensive request in form of an augmentation forwarded to the Federal Government.

“The contract has been awarded, there is a contractor on this road and some sections have been completed, however, we have realised a need for us to review that contract to meet the expectations of the people,” Kuti said.

He said ongoing construction achieved 40 per cent completion before the contract review, adding that, the increased scope of work necessitated repackaging of the project.

Speaking on the Otta-Idiroko section, he said procedures were still ongoing to help Globacom to take over reconstruction of the road project under the Tax Credit Scheme of the Federal Government.

He told NAN that special repairs were ongoing on various sections at the Otta end, to make the road motorable pending the planned Glo reconstruction.

Kuti explained interventions done on the first five kilometres around Igbemode Grammar School and other sections.

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