The Agony of Motorists

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Lagos-Badagry Expressway
Lagos-Badagry Expressway

The worsening state of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway has become a nightmare for motorists

|  By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Jun. 17, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

THERE seems to be no immediate hope of ending the agony motorists pass through on the Lagos-Badagry expressway. The deplorable state of the road has become a perpetual nightmare to commuters. Many motorists and residents on the route have stressed the need for immediate intervention by the federal government. What is even more worrisome is the declaration by the Lagos state government which ruled out the possibility of any intervention on the road since there is an unending rehabilitation and expansion project being undertaken in collaboration with World Bank. This involves a 10-lane carriageway that will incorporate Light Rail Transport, LRT, on the median and also the Bus Rapid Transit, BRT, system.

Obafemi Hamzat, state commissioner for works and infrastructure, said that completion of the Lagos-Badagry expressway “is tied to funding, which the state government is currently tackling with.”  He ruled out any possible assistance from the state government, saying that there was no budget for the road in the fiscal allocation of the 2013 budget. He also accused the federal government of owing the state government N51 billion spent over the years for the rehabilitation of federal roads.

A bus driver, who gave his name as Uzochi, described the road as very bad. He said that from Agbara to Badagry, there were gullies at every 100 metres on both sides of the road and in some places, the road has been cut into two. “It is too bad and this is an international road that links other countries like Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana, Sierra-Leone and others. Before now, from Mile 2 to Badagry was just about 30 minutes’ drive, but today, we spend two to three hours and when it rains, it can be anything around six, seven hours or even more,” he said.

Promise Jude, a regular user of the road, decried its dilapidated state and described government’s nonchalance to the plight of the people living in the area as wicked. “We spend two or three hours when the road is free. But if there is traffic, you can spend more than five hours and when it rains, you cannot estimate the number of hours you will spend on the road because sometimes, you may have to sleep, especially if Agbara is blocked. Starting from Agric down to Badagry, the road can better be described as a landmine. Places that are deadly and which should be noted by all road users include, Agric, Alaba Aragun, LASU gate, Okokomaiko, Vespa, Agbara, Iyana Ibiye, Jar Michael, Agogo Gbala, Limka, Dereko army barracks up to Badagry roundabout,” he said.

Efforts to reach the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, CCECC, the construction company handling the work, were unsuccessful. But sources closer to the construction company, said the authorities don’t seem prepared to employ more workers to hasten the construction work. The source maintained that the few workers on site have slowed down work despite the 10 hours of work every day, including weekends. According to the source, another factor militating against the progress of work is the meagre salary being received by workers.

A worker at the site, who wishes anonymity, said: “The company is known to pay little attention to the welfare of staff; neither management provides enough staff bus nor any kind of incentive to motivate the workers, either skilled or unskilled.”

Despite the fact that the road is an international route that links Nigeria with other West African countries, it has been abandoned by relevant authorities. Most deplorable is the section from the International Trade Fair Complex all the way to Volkswagen area, extending, to Iyana-Iba.

Several man-hours are being wasted on the road, and more often, heavy duty vehicles break down, spilling their contents and aggravating the traffic situation in the process. In other cases, cars owners and buses usually get stuck in the mud while trying to use the escape routes.

Miscreants also lurk around to assist any unfortunate motorist whose vehicle gets stuck or develop any mechanical fault and needs their help. They charge astronomical fees for their services. In the night, some of them transform into robbers, dispossessing motorists of valuables like cash and mobile phones at gun point.

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