Vandalised pedestrian bridge yearns for attention
Week-in-week out, overflow of traders from the popular Aswani Market, huddle at the foot of the bridge, to sell their wares, largely cheap fairly used, and new clothing.
Buyers in this market, who come from far flung parts of the state, and beyond, turn the place into a Mecca of sort, every Tuesday. The high flow of human traffic here, is not only as a result of the market, but also because one of the entrances to the popular Ladipo Auto Spare Parts Market, is adjacent to the foot of the bridge.
With the intense human activities around this location for most part of the day, and most part of the week, the footbridge was adjudged a great necessity, and a worthwhile initiative.
Unlike some of its counterparts in different parts of the state, the bridge is still very solid. But some of the aluminium fittings that formed part of the railings are gone. Not because they fell off owing to shabby job done by the firm that constructed it, but because they were vandalised by criminally-minded members of the society, who would convert them for other purposes.
With the protective railings gone, pedestrians are now exposed to risk of falling off the bridge (where government had designed a safe passage), and landing awkwardly could be fatal.
A commercial tri-cyclist who simply identified himself as Okafor, narrated how a pregnant hawker fell off the bridge three months ago, upon being chased by officials of the Lagos State anti-indiscipline outfit, Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI).
He said, “She was lucky not to be seriously hurt because she had not ascended the stairs before she came tumbling down.”Bordered on both sides by industrial outfits, the bridge and its environs are always deserted at night, even as unsuspecting pedestrians and regularly robbed by criminal elements.
A female seller by the foot of the bridge also thinks it is important for government to fix the vandalised parts so that law abiding citizens, who choose to use the bridge do not fall to their untimely death, adding that the vandalisation has reduced the number of those that use the bridge, especially at night, while increasing the number of those darting across the expressway.
A pedestrian told The Guardian he would continue to use the bridge, despite the vandalised railings, saying, “other than the vandalised railings, the structure of the bridge is not compromised. So, I will continue using it carefully, whether the government decides to replace the vandalized railing or not. But I cannot stand up to the risk of running across the expressway.”
Some users of the footbridge claim that the railings were vandalised because they are aluminium sheets, which could be melted for other purposes.In confirming this, Prince, an aluminum ware fabricator said: “It is true that people steal parts of the railings from the bridges because they are made of aluminium. That is why the government is replacing them with iron and cement. When stolen they melt the aluminum bars, from which they make hangers, pots handles and the rest.”
Information Officer at the Oshodi/Isolo Local Council, Mr. Olaniyi Ajayi, in his remarks noted that the bridge is a state/federal project, and so not in the council’s care.
That notwithstanding, he said that if there are causalities resulting from the state of the bridge, the council would bear the burden, and so it is necessary that the council updates the state government on the state of the bridge.
“Now that you have informed me of issues concerning the bridge, I will pass the message to our engineering department. They will go to the bridge and assess the level of damage. We will then write to the state government to act on it, because it affects us directly.”
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