For people living along Abaranje Road and its adjoining communities in the Ikotun part of Lagos, going in and out of the area has become a nightmare.
For nearly two years, they have been going through the agony of wading through a road that has been taken over by deep craters. Many car owners in the area have long forgotten the pleasure of being car owners as they abandon their cars and go for public transport.
Day after day, commercial bus drivers, tricycle operators and commercial motorcycle operators rip-off commuters who have no alternative means of moving along the road. On the other hand, the transporters spend heavily to maintain their vehicles as a result of the terrible state of the road and in turn pass the cost to the commuters.
Stephen Omokunga, one of the community leaders, lamented what he viewed as the neglect of the area by the local and state governments. “Abaranje community is urgently in need of road rehabilitation,” he told the reporter.
Omokunga noted that the expectation was that the road was going to be rehabilitated soon after Ijegun Road was reconstructed. But several months after, that has not happened. For Omokunga and other residents, the misery of passing through Abaranje Road had become unbearable.
The most affected residents of the area are those who work in distant locations like Lagos Island, Ikeja and Apapa as they have to go through a long stretch of the failed road every working day to get to their destinations and back.
Along the stretch, some residents have resorted to filling potholes just to reduce the gridlock that motorists encounter on the road particularly when it rains. But the fillers get washed away as soon as it rains.
From the first street at the Ikotun end of the road, there are obvious signs that one is about to embark on a bumpy ride on a long stretch. At the Islamic Bus Stop area, where some of the gullies were recently refilled by the youths in the area, there seemed to be respite until recent rainfalls. At Da-Silva, Omotayo, Customs and Ogunfowora Estate intersections, a ride along the road becomes more challenging as some vehicles get stuck in some of the deep potholes and bumpy parts. The same goes for Ade-Ade, Asalu, K&S, Onitire areas down to the Okerube end of the road.
A commuter, Cyril Omekagu said he stopped driving on the road after his car suffered several suspension problems within a short time.
“This is my seventh month in this area. I live in the estate but I now regret coming to this place. I have spent so much on car repairs. I bought the car in 2016 and at the time I moved in last year, it wasn’t as bad as it is today,” Cyril lamented.
It is not only Cyril that has gone through a harrowing experience on the road. For Olabode Temitope, another resident, the bad state of the road cost him his job. Temitope who has lived in the area for about 20 years, was formerly a staff of a private company in the Oshod-Isolo industrial area. He was relieved of his appointment for what the company viewed as habitual late coming to work. He blamed it on the bad road.
Temitope who later became a commercial tricycle rider on the same road explained that the road was first constructed by the Bola Tinubu administration and has over the years, been rehabilitated by successive governments. “As tricycle operators, there is no week we don’t go to the mechanics for repairs. Accidents are very common as a result of the failed portions of the road and some of them have been fatal. And all these affect our daily income from the business. We are the most affected of all the road users,” she stated.
An official of Ikotun/Igando Local Council Development Area, who did not want to be quoted, explained that the major problem of the road is that it does not have a drainage system. This has resulted in periodic collapse of the road each time a palliative work is carried out there. The council official, who is a staff of the works department, said it is not only the Abaranje Road that needs government’s attention but also the streets in the area. Like many other communities in Lagos, Abaranje and its adjoining communities do not have proper drainage channels.
To reduce the impact of flooding and environmental degradation, some of the landlords in the area have resorted to constructing drainage channels in front of their properties.