It is a known fact the old Alimosho Local Government Area was the largest local government in the country until a number of local council development areas (Ikotun-Igando, and Egbe-Idimu) were carved out of it.
The electoral value of the local government (and its LCDAs) was never lost on the then administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, when he was the governor of Lagos State. He campaigned vigorously in the local government, both in 1999 and 2003.
Upon re-election in 2003, he set about reconstructing the two-lane Ikotun-Idimu road. And as his successor, Babatunde Fashola (now the Minister of Power, Works and Housing) was preparing to introduce the BRT commuter bus service to Ikotun as a terminal point for the Ikotun-Cele Express and Ikotun-Iyana-Ipaja services, he directed the Lagos Metropolitan Transit Authority (LAMATA) to dualize the Ikotun-Idimu road and provide the whole stretch of the road with streetlights.
Today, about four or five big diesel generators positioned at regular intervals provide power for the street lights that make the road safe at night for shopkeepers who close late (between 10 and 11pm). Television viewing centre patrons along the way also benefit from the street illumination.
When Governor Akinwunmi Ambode took over, he also reconstructed the Ikotun-Ejigbo-Okota road and also provided streetlights. But right in front of the Ikotun Police Station is a U-turn created when LAMATA dualized Ikotun-Idimu road. Less than four meters from the U-turn is the entrance to Isijola Street which runs beside the perimeter wall of First Bank, which is opposite the police station.
Other bank branches form a phalanx along the road after First Bank on both sides of Ikotun-Idimu road, stretching towards Egbeda.
When motorists from Isijola Street try to join the traffic heading to Idimu in the opposite direction, policemen at the gate of the station stop them from doing so, on the claim that it is illegal. They use this as opportunity to harass such motorists and possibly extort money from them.
More importantly, it is not safe for the U-turn to continue to exist right in front of the police station as a lot of people mill around the area, on account of the banks and numerous shops.
When commuter bus drivers reverse from the BRT terminal with the intention to use the U-Turn opposite the police station, and thereby avoid the traffic jam at Ikotun roundabout farther down the road, they cause hold up. On several occasions, they have knocked down unwary pedestrians.
To prevent fatal accidents and stop the extortion of motorists by some unscrupulous policemen, it is strongly suggested that a new U-Turn be created opposite the local government secretariat, to serve all. The one presently in front of the police station should be closed.
►Joseph Johnson wrote from Ikotun, Lagos, via excellent [email protected]