What next after abandonment of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway?
The Federal Government had raised the hopes of users of the road when it mobilised Julius Berger to the Sagamu Interchange-Lagos Section of the expressway (and Messrs Ratcon Construction Company, RCC, to the Sagamu-Ibadan Section) during the immediate past administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Although the arrangement that took the two construction companies to the road – after the concession granted Messrs Bi-Courtney Highway Limited was terminated – was shrouded in mystery, many, although shocked by the action of the government then, had no option than to believe that their messiahs had come in the two companies.
But, after Jonathan’s razzmatazz and political gimmick that heralded the reconstruction, it has now been proved that those Nigerians who were expecting government’s magic on the road were dead wrong, after all, as work has surprisingly been abandoned at the Julius Berger portion; while RCC continues some skeletal work on its own portion.
Today, the bad portion of the expressway at Ibafo is giving many a traveller serious nightmare. I was unfortunate to be trapped there on my way back to Lagos on Monday morning. My journey that had been smooth all the way from Benin suddenly became nightmarish on getting to the Redemption Camp where I met the traffic about 11.40 a.m. Thinking it was caused by an accident, or a faulty vehicle, and that it would soon end, I entered the traffic only to spend two hours between where I entered it at the Redemption Camp and Ibafo! The cause of the unending gridlock is a large pothole right in the middle of the road in Ibafo, which nobody is attending to.
It is rather sad that the situation of this busiest road has deteriorated after a long wait for the promised reconstruction; surely we are back to square one.
When Bi-Courtney had the concession, it is a well-known fact that the company was constantly filling dangerous potholes like the one in Ibafo and elsewhere on the road. At least, I witnessed this several times.
Since the delay in executing the concession was allegedly caused by the Federal Ministry of Works as Bi-Courtney later told Nigerians in a statement published in several newspapers, without the ministry contradicting the company, the government owes Nigerians serious explanation on how the project has become abandoned midway, subjecting us to this kind of harrowing experience.
• Kelvin Ekpeyong FESTAC Town, Lagos.