TRADERS LOSE MILLIONS OF NAIRA, AS REHABILITATION OF OLD OJO ROAD LINGERS.
Uploaded by Yemisi Dada on September 21, 2022
Residents and traders along the Old Ojo road in Oriade Council Development Area of Lagos State, have cried out over the deplorable state of roads in the area.
The stretch of the road begins from Maza Maza through First Gate, Oluti, Agboju, Alakija, Dantata, Fin-niger, Abule Ado and Abule Osun and serves as an alternative route to the International Trade fair complex before Barracks bus stop along the Lagos Badagry expressway.
A visit to the area by correspondent, Yemisi Dada, shows that the worst section of the road is between First Gate and Maza Maza as rhe situation is further worsened by the high influx of trucks and tankers going into the tank farms at Ijegun Egba via Abule Ado and Abule Osun stretch of the road.
How long has the Old Ojo road been in bad, shape? What is the effort of the local governments in the area and the state government in rehabilitating the strategic road?
Our correspondent seeks answers to these questions and more in this report as facilitated by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism under its Collaborative Media Engagement for Development, Inclusion and
Accountability (CMEDIA) project.
In February 2019, Tracka, a subsidiary of BudgIT, published a report revealing that out of 175 roads promised to be rehabilitated by former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode before the end of his tenure, only 54 had been completed as at February 2019.
This left an excess of 74 of those roads as claimed by Tracka, with the Old Ojo road among those left abandoned.
Speaking on this year’s budget, Commissioner for Budget and Economic planning, Mr Sam Egube, said infrastructure got the largest share of N619 billion naira out of 1.73 trillion naira representing 35 percent of the entire budget size, as the Red and Blue rail-line projects would gulp 153billion naira for first phase completion while the Lagos-Badagry Expressway expansion project would also gulp 9.9billion naira, among which is the Old Ojo road.
But for how long has the Old Ojo road which used to be one of the choice alternative routes in Satellite Town in the 1990s, been bad and the cause?
One of the Community leaders in Satellite Town, Pastor Dele Erese, attributed the bad road to influx of trucks going into tank farms in Ijegun Egba area which had adverse effects on the old Ojo road.
“Most of our people to go to work is a very big problem, even our children to go to school in the morning is also a problem because the tankers used to be on the road twenty four seven, at times 250 to 300 tankers will be on the road on a daily basis, with full load of petroleum products and residents do not sleep with two eyes close as they pray over night to avert disasters, please we are appealing to the government to find something to do to this”
However, a visit to the Tank farms area by our correspondent, shows that the road leading to the twelve tank farms near the Ijegun Egba jetty is in good shape as it was rehabilitated with paving stones, which some residents said was done by the tank farm operators.
Concerned residents in the area complained of the daily hardship experienced due to the bad state of roads coupled with its attendant effect on their vehicles as they now visit the mechanic workshop on a weekly basis, while some said they have abandoned their vehicles due to economic challenges.
” The old Ojo road is one of the oldest road in Lagos state because it was constructed in 1974 by Mobolaji Johnson of blessed memory, over the years the bad roads is having adverse effect socially and health wise on the residents of this community”
” We are not happy on seeing this road like this, when it is election time, they will come and give us promises and the rest but after election you will not see them”
” This our road don spoil well well, old Ojo road, this road is the best of the road before, I take God beg una because if we buy motor like this, three months all the leg go don spoil”
Does the bad state of Old Ojo have any effect on business activities in the area?
Some of the traders who said the road has been neglected by past administrations in Lagos for about ten years attributed the location of tank farms in Ijegun Egba as the major cause of the bad road, noting that the development also constituted imminent danger to them.
A car wash operator at Fin-niger area, Mr Ikechuwku John, who noted that he now washes only one or two cars per day as against twenty five vehicles on a daily basis at #700 each for normal washing and #3,000 each for full cleaning, attributed the low patronage to the bad state of roads in the area and called on the Lagos State government to be proactive in fixing the road in good time.
” Tankers and container motors have scattered everywhere. I am doing car wash before we get customer here is too hard, like now that rain fall, you see everywhere is covered with water nobody will come unless the car dry as some people will consider us to come, now we are with nothing, before this road is like this if you come I will not have time to talk to you like this but see now only one motor since morning ooo and this is is after 2pm, the government should come to our rescue, we have suffered enough”
When approached in her fashion store in Alakija area, Mrs Florence, as she simply want to be named, said the road has been bad for the past five years when she opened her shop and that business is not booming as expected. She noted that people in private vehicles do not stop by her shop to patronize her business because of the bad road, a development which is costing her money.
The fashion designer said had it been the road was in good shape she would have been making over three hundred thousand naira on a monthly basis but with the bad state of the road she makes barely seventy five thousand naira monthly and depends more on her apprentices fees to make ends meet.
” I have been here for 5years, and this road has been bad, the tankers don’t allow us to do our business because the road is bad, no one will park, even if you showcase your work no one will see, as it is only trucks that will pass and they don’t sew now, they have turn this road to industrial area, that is our problem”
Another trader who deals in phone accessories, Mr James Udoh, berated what he called the lackadaisical attitude of the Oriade Chairperson to the plight of the people despite several complaints by residents on the bad road.
” This old Ojo road have been bad for 10 years, dust, water everywhere the road don spoil since 10 years ago, even chairman local government I don’t know wetin be their work, we are tired of the dust and water, there is no way people will pass for here, we want Lagos state to come and repair this road for us, if our chairman local government cannot do it, let Lagos state come and do it”
After several attempts to speak with the Oriade LCDA Chairperson, Mrs Ramota Akinola-Hassan, failed, she later conceded after seeing the pictures of some bad roads in her council area on the reporter’s WhatsApp status.
The Council Boss, who said the road is a state project due to the huge capital to be expended on the rehabilitation project, indicted the truck owners and tank farms for sabotaging efforts to rehabilitate some of the roads, claiming she also experiences hardship commuting on a daily basis to the council secretariat.
“Money to construct road in this area is so much because it is water logged but the problem of this road is not on government now, it is on our people , the road project has been awarded but these tankers and tank farm owners are not ready to give those people chance to work and most of the houses by the big men here are built on drainage and there is no where water can flow”
With the many complaints and suffering experienced by residents and shop owners along the Old Ojo road, what is the economic implication of this development?
A Financial Expert, who is a former Chairman, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Ikeja District, Mr. Okeowo Oderinde, emphasized that billions of naira have been lost by business owners over the ten years period due to the bad road as a result of low patronage while the state government has also lost revenue from taxes which would have been collected from the traders. He called on Governor Sanwo-olu to give a listening ear to the plights of people in the area.
” It has negative impact on the economy because time is wasted, time is money and many people are relocating out of the place, many people are avoiding the place, and it is making that place unbearable for people to stay. I will join residents to appeal to the state government to expedite action because the road is on international route and when road is in good shape it improves the economy of individual as well as the state”
But what is the Lagos State government doing about the road which investigation reveals contract for its rehabilitation has been awarded?
When contacted, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Mrs Aramide Adeyoye, who said she was in Geneva in Switzerland then, said government is not unaware of the challenges of residents and traders on Old Ojo road as it is strategic to economic growth.
She stressed that rehabilitation work which runs into hundreds of millions of naira awarded to CCECC commenced in August and is ongoing on the road with excavation works visible on the first four hundred and fifty meters of the road.
” Until the road gets to somebody area, he or she will not realize a lot of work has gone on, 932 roads have been fixed across all of the LGAs, I believe as a government, you must not be complacent, I know we have done so much but that does not mean we can still not do much more and that is where my appeal will be. I want Lagosians to have faith in us, we have done so much in three years, there is still room for more because Lagos deserves to have much more”
Though, contractors were seen on site from the Abule Osun to Abule Ado end of the road when our reporter visited the site, but not much progress has been achieved.
One of the workers on site who pleaded anonymity because he was not permitted to speak with the press, said the project on the Old Ojo road which just started and will be in four phases, is a two year contract, which will be completed in 2024.
” Many fences are along the high tension wire where excavation is to take place, and the people need to move for demolition to take place but as it is now, we have to stop where we are at Abule Ado until further notice, even water corporation pipe is under where we are to work, so those things will cause delay”
It is only hoped that the project will be completed in good time, to give alleviate the suffering of people in the area and improve socio-economic activities.
This report was facilitated by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) under its Collaborative Media Engagement for Development, Inclusion and
Accountability (CMEDIA) project.