Kirikiri: Residents imprisoned by potholes
They reside on the street where the country’s most popular detention facility, the Kirikiri Maximum Prison is located, but while they cherish their freedom unlike the jailbirds in detention, residents and shop owners along Kirikiri Road, especially Berger Suya axis, are held captive by the gaping potholes that dot the street.
They now constantly lament the deteriorating condition of their road, which has worsened in recent times, owing largely to consistent downpour and sundry factors, including depreciation induced by articulated vehicles.
Neglected by successive governments, the road, residents and shop owners claim, would have been totally washed off were it not for the palliative works they routinely carry out.
They further blame the poor condition of the road, which leads to a Nigerian Navy base; four tank farms, trailer dumps, two banks and fast food joints, among other outfits on lack of maintenance over the years.
With the array of corporate entities on the road, it would have been expected that the road would be pampered and well taken care of, but the reverse is the case as confirmed by a recent visit.
Ineffective drainage system, have also contributed to worsening the condition of the road, which is characterised by crater-sized potholes, which vehicles take turns to get stuck in. Getting these vehicles out with the help of always-ready able-bodied young men attracts a hefty fee.
Mrs. Stella Ekwegh, who resides in the area, laments the untold hardship residents have to contend with living on the street.“The condition of this road has become worse of late to the point that we sometimes contribute money to get sand to fill the bad portions. The shop owners around here have been the ones donating money to buy materials to fill the ditches, just to make the road passable because the state government has not done a thing here for years. Sometimes I even wonder if we have one. Each shop owner pays as much as N40, 000, just to fill the potholes and clear the gutters. Because the gutters are not in good condition. I have fallen into this dirty water on so many occasions while on a bike.”
The shop owners in the small spare parts market at Berger Suya are the most affected because the biggest ditches are found in front of their shops, and this leads to reduced sales. So, they take matters into their hands on so many occasions, by filling up the ditches, but that only helps the situation temporarily as most times, the deposited sands end up in the already ineffective gutters.”
Ogochukwu Fabian, a shop owner in the area summarised the situation this way, “I have been selling around here for more than 10 years, and the road has been this bad for five years or so. It is even manageable now because last month, we cleared the gutters the best way we could, and poured some stones inside. In recent times, after a heavy downpour, passing through this road successfully becomes a thing of luck. Only last week, 15 commercial motorcyclists fell inside these big potholes with their passengers. They had to be helped out by other road users. If repairs were regularly carried out on the road, we would not be in this situation. This is a federal road leading to Kirikiri Prisons, and we have naval officers passing through this road daily to their base in Apapa. We also have tankers bearing petroleum products passing through this road. So, as busy as this road is, it is sad that it is still in this condition,” he submitted.
A motorist who frequents the road said on grounds of anonymity, that the road is most times flooded, and youths are constantly making money by pushing vehicles out of the ditches.
“I go through this road more than any road in Lagos. Even after months of no downpour, this road remains flooded. The only time it is flood-free is after four to five months of no rain. It is also at this time that one can appreciate the depth of the ditches. I am aware that when the road is flooded, some people make as much as N10, 000 pulling out vehicles that are stuck in the ditches. The situation is ironic in the sense that while some people are suffering, some others are making money from the same road.