Power cable vandals threaten street lighting efforts in Lagos
Govt, communities worry over consequences
It was a tragedy too many when last Wednesday, an unidentified woman met her untimely death at Kosofe bus-stop in Mile 12 area of Lagos State when she was electrocuted while crossing the expressway.On her way to Mile 12 market, she was attempting to cross the road when unknowingly touched the railing dividing the highway, whic h had contact with a faulty electrical pole and she died instantly.
That was the fourth such incident at the same spot in the last three months, especially since the Light Up Lagos project initiative by the Akinwunmi Ambode-administration installed streetlights across the length and breath of the state.
According to an eyewitness, “a red flag was even tied on the rail to warn pedestrians against crossing from that spot. The woman must have been unaware of the danger and touched the pole,” he said.From early this year, the state governor Akinwunmi Ambode had embarked on the Light Up Lagos project in the first phase of an ambitious agenda to make Lagos State a 24-hour economy, where production, exchange, distribution and consumption take place round the clock.
Sometimes also called ‘the city that never sleeps’ Ambode hopes Lagos would join economic powerhouse cities like New York, London, Tokyo, Paris, Bangkok, Seoul, Shanghai and Chicago, where the 24-hour economy is driving productivity, building strong institutions, improving quality of life, environmental sustainability and infrastructure development.
Relying on the five gas-powered Independent Power Projects at Akute, Alausa, Mainland, Island and Lekki, which are supplying energy to the streetlights and other public facilities, it is now smooth night-driving through Third Mainland Bridge, Ikeja, Ojodu-Berger to Iyana-Oworonshoki, Murtala Muhammed Airport Road, Okota through Isolo to Ikotun, Mushin to Onipetesi, Agege and Sango.
With Lagos nights now brilliantly lit-up, the dread of driving after dusk is giving way to some ease , especially in areas like Ejigbo, Ipaja, Ayobo, Ishefun, Aiyetoro, Oshodi among others.A resident living in Oshodi, Mr. Solomon Enilolobo, said the streetlight on Airport Road has addressed the problem of insecurity in the area.
“People travel at night and move a lot on this road but it is always with trepidation because of the darkness that envelops everywhere. Even the emergence of petrol tankers didn’t help matters, but with this light now, people can move any time without fear of being attacked.”
To another resident of Ipaja, Ibrahim Mucas, “anyone who loves beauty would appreciate the streetlights in this part of Lagos.“But my worry is that the hoodlums may tamper with them. You can see how they have vandalized aluminum and steel railings on pedestrian bridges.My plea is for the government that has begun this beautiful work to also provide security that would check such vandalism,” he said.
To a community leader in Okota, Alhaji Olalekan Bashir, communities must show more than passing interest in the project.“It is a good thing we are beginning to see the dividends of democracy in this area. A way of sustaining this development is to engage community policing to protect these state infrastructure.
“The Neighbourhood Watch, Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) and the police should be empowered to prevent cable vandals from stealing streetlight cables in any part of the state.”
Another community leader in Ejigbo, Christopher Emmanuel, noted that commercial bus drivers should be sensitised on safe driving so that they don’t destroy the streetlight poles through reckless driving.“There was a time the governor apprehended a Danfo driver on this road for driving one-way. That picture sent a strong message that the era of driving recklessly is over.
“More of those who willfully break the law, destroy public utilities like cables, poles, roads should be given stiff penalties to deter others,” he said.Meanwhile, the Lagos the Lagos State government has lamented the gross abuse of public infrastructure provided for communities.
According to the Special Adviser to the governor on Communities and Communication, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, government has been bothered that some residents were abusing its infrastructure. He told The Guardian at the weekend, that the present administration was passionate about of inclusive governance and sustainable infrastructural development.
“Over time, government has observed gross abuse of the state government infrastructure in our communities which necessitated the decision to embark on inaugurating the management committee, saddled with the responsibility of managing and maintaining community projects across the state.
“I just chaired a meeting with Neighbourhood Watch commanders, to work out modalities on how to effectively combat criminality and ensure obedience to government laws in the state. I can assure you, violators and vandals won’t go unpunished.”Bamigbetan implored Community Development Associations (CDAs) and Community Development Committees (CDCs) to partner with the government in developing their areas by being the government’s eyes and ears in safeguarding public infrastructure from neglect, abuse and vandalism.
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