Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
People travelling either from Ogbomoso in Oyo State to Ilorin in Kwara State or from Ilorin to Ogbomoso, on Wednesday, had a nine hours grueling experience due to the blockage of the road by Ogbomoso residents.
The residents barricaded the Ogbomoso-Ilorin Road at Takie Roundabout, over non-completion of Ogbomoso-Oyo axis of Ibadan-Ilorin Expressway in the last 18 years, and prevented vehicles from transiting between the two states.
The protesters, comprising Christians Association of Nigerian (CAN), Ogbomoso zone, Ogbomoso Muslim community, Igbo and Hausa communities as well as other interest groups, claimed that non-completion of the Ogbomoso-Oyo section had led to the death of about 14,040 people, including students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso.
The protest was a follow-up to a press conference, held in June by the Ogbomoso community, where they gave the Federal Government an ultimatum of August 1, for completion of the road.
The Ibadan-Ilorin Expressway was divided into three lots, with first one from Ibadan to Oyo, which has been completed. The second lot is from Oyo to Ogbomoso, which has not been completed, and the third from Ogbomoso to Ilorin, which has also been completed.
The non-completion of the second lot has been forcing motorists to take the single old lane between Oyo and Ogbomoso, which has resulted into many travellers’ death because it is a narrow road, dotted with potholes with many sharp and dangerous bends.
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Daily Sun gathered the protesters, in their hundreds on Wednesday converged on Taki Square, carrying placards and banners with various inscriptions, took to the highway and barricaded it at about 7:00am.
They vowed to occupy the road till 4:00pm, to send signal to the Federal Government that it has become imperative and urgent to declare a state of emergency on the road, and ensure completion of the Ibadan-Ilorin Expressway.
President of Nigerian Baptist Convention in Ogbomoso and President of Christian Council of Nigeria, Oyo State chapter, Israel Olaniyan, who read a prepared text said the road, awarded in 2010 and expected to be completed in four years, is 58 percent completed as at today.