Tortuous road to Badagry …
Lagosians, lawmaker call on Federal Government to repair the highway
Call it the ‘road to hell’ and you may not be wrong. The torture citizens plying the Lagos-Badagry road are subjected to, particularly at Mechanic bus-stop, can best be imagined than experienced.
The agony is such that motorists no longer care for the man-hours lost to the long trail of congestion. Rather, it is the pain being inflicted on the vehicles that must wade through the car-wrecking gully covered in a pool of water that occupies the thoughts of vehicle owners.
While muttering some swear words to whoever is responsible for the abysmal state of the road, motorists barely hold their breathe for the short minutes they pass through the ‘road to hell’ quietly moaning or praying that their vehicles are not ‘captured’ in the dreaded gully.
Before getting to the torture spot is another story of anguish. Commuters spend between four to six hours on either lane of the road if you are unlucky to transit during peak periods.
A man, who had left home around 7 a.m. had to take another route when he was warned by a friend who had been stuck on the road since 5:30 a.m. He made a detour by traveling through Sango-Ota from Agbara to get to mainland Lagos rather than face the horror of another long hours in traffic.
That has been the daily routine on the busy highway that connects several West African countries and a major artery for the transportation of goods into and out of the country.
“If any road in this century should have been left to rot away, it should not be Lagos-Badagry expressway, but do our leaders know, because it would only be an act of sheer wickedness for any leader to sleep well while this road is like this, without even an effort to carry out partial rehabilitation. This highway should have portrayed a positive image of Nigeria, but what we get is a disgrace of a road,” a dejected motorist lamented to The Guardian.
On both sides of Mechanic and Iyana-Ishasi bus-stops, a long stretch of potholes forces motorists to crawl through the barely passable section of the road, and sometimes standstill if a vehicle unluckily breaks down.
In fact, communal efforts at reducing the damage to vehicles by patching the gullies with bricks has further deepened the potholes, with the recent drop of the rain in the area. The result is the continued suffering of commuters.
A motorist, who identified himself as Mr. Kingsley, said the road has been neglected for so long. He recalled that in the past during the last administration of Goodluck Jonathan, there were some half-hearted attempts to rehabilitate the road, but it will only be a palliative lasting a few months before it goes bad.
“It is a different ball game now. Nobody is even coming around to do anything and we have a former governor of Lagos as the minister in charge of federal roads,” he said.
A road user, Simon Ekpe, said from 4pm, the road is nothing to write home about. “Containers, petrol tankers and heavy duty vehicles take turns to breakdown on the spot, which aggravates the traffic situation at a time people are returning home.
“Whenever the weather changes, our hearts start pounding because of the trauma we are going to face on the road. I pity the vehicles that go through this bad road, but it is money their owners would be spending to maintain their cars,” he said.
A member of the Lagos House of Assembly, Mr. Setonji David, had recently appealed to the Federal Government to repair the failed portions on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway. David, chairman of the Committee on Physical Planning and Urban Development, made the appeal while speaking with newsmen, noting that the expressway had collapsed.
“It is unfair for the Federal Government to abandon a road that is an international road. The government is making millions of money from customs and excise duties on a daily basis through the use of the road.” The lawmaker also appealed to the minister of works, power and housing to give attention to the road to ease the hardship on the road.