For Iheanacho Amakiri, an importer of car batteries, Saturday, June 1, 2019, would forever evoke sad memories. That was the day a container loaded with his batteries fell into a gully on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway in Lagos.
According to him, the articulated truck carrying the container was coming from Agbara. On getting to Abule Oshun, the driver tried to manoeuvre his way through the gullies that have taken over the international road. He, however, lost control of the vehicle and the container fell into the large body of water on the road.
He said that the main cause of the accident was the downpour in the morning of that day, which formed a mini-lagoon on the road, preventing motorists from determining where to put their wheels.
He regretted that the batteries destroyed in the accident were worth millions of naira, adding that it was his first import in the last six months since he had been looking for money to import for some time.
Amakiri said that because of the deplorable state of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, trailer drivers hardly agree to ply the route, and the few who would dare to take the risk usually triple their charges.
The businessman stated that it had become cheaper to transport goods from Mile 2 to Kaduna than from Mile 2 to Agbara. He appealed to the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, come to the rescue of motorists and other commuters that regularly use the road.
His words: “I don’t know where to start. The money that I used for the importation of the batteries was borrowed from the bank. For six months now, I had not done any importation because I did not have the financial resources. Now, as you can see, the whole container-load of battery fell inside the water and they must have been damaged. What do I do? What do I tell the bank that I borrowed the money from?”
Meanwhile, users of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway have descended angrily on the Lagos State government for abandoning the 10-lane road, whose contract was awarded more than seven years ago.
According to them, instead of destroying and displacing families in the name of constructing an international road and later abandoning it, government should have left it the way it was before.
Chike Ukatu, a commercial motorbike rider, said: “It is just the beginning of the rainy season and containers are falling every day on the road. By the time it gets to its peak, even caterpillars cannot move on the road. People living around Agbara to Mile 2 have been cut off completely from the rest of Lagos State. We cannot go out and we cannot come in. Even okada finds it difficult to ply the road and I know that, very soon, we will also park our motorcycles as motorists have done.”
John Asuquo, a trader at the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, said, for the past one year, he has not driven his car because of the state of the road.
According to him, okada is now the major means of transportation on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.
He said that Raji Fashola, under whose watch as governor of Lagos State the contract was awarded, must have been overwhelmed by his three ministries that he forgot about the road and other federal roads in Lagos.
He stressed that those responsible for the construction of the road should as a matter of urgency mobilise contractors back to the site: “For years, it’s like we never had a government in this state. There is nothing that we, the ordinary masses, have not done to bring government attention to the deplorable state of this road.
“A few weeks ago, people protested about the state of the road. If you check both the traditional and online media, the issue of this road is always on and, till now, we have not seen any response from government. So, does it mean that they don’t feel concerned about our suffering?”