•Excitement as Ambode inaugurates major road
By Tessy Igomu
For years, it was in a shambles, causing untold hardship to road users. The absolutely dilapidated road was a death trap, and many were they that met their demise while traversing the crater-riddled stretch.
To many, Dillion Road, a major artery connecting other roads within the Kirikiri Industrial Estate in Oriade Local Council Development Area of Lagos, was a jinxed road. In the last 16 years, every effort made by residents, business owners and the media to have the ruined road reconstructed invariably met a brick wall.
Today, residents of the area are singing a new song. On Tuesday, the newly reconstructed road was inaugurated, bringing relief to the residents and others using the road.
The high concentration of oil installations in the axis, as well as a naval base and the Kirikiri prisons, meant that the road records high vehicular traffic daily. Even the importance of these facilities to the nation was hitherto not considered a factor to facilitate its quick rehabilitation.
Until lately, several deaths were recorded on the road. On many occasions, trucks laden with containers tumbled, leaving unfortunate victims either dead or maimed for life.
Economic activities in the area have, for years, been paralysed owing to the sordid state of the road. Even innocent school children are not spared the harrowing experience as they are forced to endure a hellish ride to and from school.
Usually, suffering on the road increases in many times during the rainy season. The plight of road users becomes worse, as flood takes over the whole stretch, sometimes for months.
At a point, the Lagos State government reconstructed Okodowa Street, one of the link roads, leaving Dillion Street in its sordid state. This development, which had gone on for about 16 years, made most motorists, particularly staffers of companies in the industrial area, to abandon the road completely, thus increasing pressure on other roads.
Motorists brave enough to drive through the collection of gullies were most times left to groan in the intractable traffic, even as they contended with boulders and concrete slabs used as palliatives to ‘patch’ the road.
On some days, it took the intervention of armed naval officers to get the traffic moving and at such moments, life could be a living hell for those stuck in the traffic, even as they were faced with the danger of being crushed to death while sandwiched between wobbling container-bearing trucks.
But the suffering has ended. Residents, motorists and other road users can now heave a sigh of relief following the opening of the new Dillion Road on Tuesday, September 21, 2016, by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode. It was among the 114 roads constructed between January and August 2016.
The governor was represented by his Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Mustapha Akinkumi. The event was well attended by traditional rulers and community leaders as well as representatives of the Nigeria Police, Nigeria Navy and other para-military outfits. Residents also trooped out in their numbers to witness the memorable event.
According to the governor, the road construction, aside its long-term aim of making commuting easy in the axis, created about 5,000 jobs for professionals, artisans and labourers in the construction industry. He noted that a larger number of people, approximately 50,000 suppliers and dependants, felt the positive impact of the stimulus package in their lives.
The governor urged residents, especially members of the Community Development Association (CDA) in the area, to work towards ensuring that the roads and facilities around it are protected for the good of the society. He promised to hand over powering of the streetlights to the CDA, noting that the state government would support them to ensure the streetlights stay on.
The governor assured Lagos residents that the 114 roads projects would be a continuous event to make Lagos a true megacity.
Earlier, the sole administrator of Oriade LCDA, Habeeb Aileru, said the council would not tolerate any misuse of government infrastructure and warned that there would be no trading of any type on the new road. He also warned that using the road as a mechanic workshop would also not be tolerated.
Aileru called on stakeholders and residents alike to protect the road from any sort of abuse and misuse and urged them to report any activity capable of endangering the road to the council.
While expressing delight at the construction, the member of the House of Assembly representing Amuwo Odofin Constituency, Hakeem Bello, commended the state government for ensuring that roads in the area were in good condition.
A community leader in the area, Segun Nzewi, also commended the state government’s gesture. Nzewi, who has for years led the agitation for the reconstruction of Dillion Road, recalled what he described as the difficult days of fighting for government attention in the area. He promised that the community would ensure that government infrastructure in the area are protected.
Before the road was inaugurated, there was some unrest caused by some residents and street urchins, who were unhappy with the fact that other streets like Happy Home Avenue, another major road by which vehicles could navigate through the industrial area, are still in a deplorable state. They also lamented that Dillion Road was not completely contructed as it terminated at a very pivotal point, which was likely to still create gridlocks on the road.
They called on the Lagos State government to ensure that the spots where the construction of Dillion Road stopped, close to Berger Bridge, and Happy Home Avenue, were priority projects in the next phase of the 114 roads to be executed soot.
Breast cancer ravages mother of two
• ‘I need N5m for surgery’
By Tessy Igomu
Her name is Abimbola Ogunbodede and for two years now the 46-year-old mother of two from Ogun State has known only pain. Abimbola suffers from a debilitating disease aptly described as every woman’s nightmare: breast cancer. She urgently needs N5 million for surgery and follow-up treatment.
The ailment has taken the enterprising fashion designer permanently off work, confining her to a sickbed. She was a victim of delayed diagnosis, and the situation caused the cancer to ravage her left breast unchecked.
According to her husband, Bayo, when they got married 23 years ago, Abimbola was an energetic woman. He noted, sadly, that within two years of her illness, she had become dependent on people for survival.
“She is now a ghost of her former self. Within a year, she faded physically as the cancer ravaged her body. I am a very sad man because I don’t know what to do to relieve her pains,” he said.
Getting Abimbola to speak about her ordeal was really an uphill task, as the pain left her breathless and weak.
“This is what life has done to me. I can’t remember the last time I went to my shop. It’s been quite hard for us,” she muttered.
Abimbola disclosed that despite the prognosis, she was determined to fight the scourge and survive. She said the problem started in 2014 after she noticed a small lump in her left breast. The lump was surgically removed in a private hospital and taken for a test, which showed it was not cancerous. Eight months after the surgery, the same breast started swelling and after being examined by another doctor, she was referred to a diagnostic centre for a more comprehensive test, which came out inconclusive. She was then asked to repeat the test after six months.
As Abimbola waited for the result of the test, she was unaware that the disease was silently attacking her breast. The breast suddenly developed sores that festered and ruptured, and by the time the diagnosis finally came out, the whole breast had been overrun by cancerous cells.
Abimbola said: “We visited other health institutions for treatment. It was from one of the hospitals that we were referred to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). There, samples were taken from my breast to the Pathology Department, where it was confirmed that I had breast cancer. I was then placed on chemotherapy.”
She said she was billed for six chemotherapy sessions, but doctors noticed that she was not responding positively after four sessions.
A determined woman, she, however, lamented that lack of funds was slowing down her treatment, as the bills had eaten deep into the family’s purse. Her husband has also been out of work for five years such that her family has been surviving on revenue from her sewing business.
“My husband has sold almost everything he has to keep me alive. The initial chemotherapy cost about N70,000 per session. With this new prescription, we would be spending about N150,000 for each session. We don’t even know how long I would be on it. We have spent everything we have on this sickness,” she said.
Speaking on the pain she has endured since the onset of the ailment, Abimbola said her family’s unwavering support has kept her hope alive.
Her words: “The pain I go through after each session is unquantifiable. I end up weak and with nausea for weeks. I also experienced hair loss, darkening of tongue, nails and skin. The sickness is eating me up. It is a most horrible experience that I don’t wish even for my enemy.”
For Abimbola, time is really of the essence. And time is not a luxury that she has now. She is appealing to kind-hearted, well-meaning Nigerians not to allow her waste away.
Abimbola can be reached on 08110160579 and 08174604186.
Strange tumour threatens girl’s life
…Needs urgent help for corrective surgery
By Doris Obinna
Her picture no doubt cuts a pitiable sight. She sleeps and wakes in pain. At the moment, she is barely hanging on to life and urgently needs life-saving surgery.
The ambition of 20-year-old Nancy Donald Ikaha has always been to, one day, gain admission into the university to study Social Welfare. But that aspiration is now threatened by a tumour that is steadily ravaging her face and is on the brink of claiming her life.
The Benue State indigene lives with her parents, who are farmers, in Ibadan, Oyo State. Right now, they depend on people’s benevolence to survive, as the cost of her treatment has depleted the family’s purse.
According to her parents, when Nancy was four years, they discovered a tiny lump on her face, which increased with time over the years. But instead of taking her to the hospital, they took to self-medication and treated the child with various local herbs, hoping to get a quick cure. Unfortunately, the lump, they disclosed, increased in size and took over the entire face.
According to her uncle, Ande Joseph, a cleric, as the years went by, what started like a small growth developed into a huge tumour that covered her left eye, nose and mouth. He disclosed that the development left Nancy with no option than to drop out of school to seek proper treatment. He further noted that her presence in school was also causing her classmates great discomfort.
“Later on, her parents were advised to take her to the hospital. But because they could not pay for proper test and scan, she was left with the option of using only drugs prescribed for her. It was all they could afford,” he said.
Since then, Nancy has been on medication. It has been a difficult experience for her parents who are poor farmers and can barely afford proper treatment.
“They can only manage to buy her the drugs,” Joseph said, recalling that in June, she was operated upon through the collective efforts of family members and her church.
“She was taken to National Hospital, Abuja, where she was diagnosed of Psamomatoide Juvenile Ossifying Diroma of Maxilla. She was subsequently admitted following the result of the diagnosis. She underwent surgical operation and by October the same year was discharged, after improving considerably.
“But the tumour resurfaced and increased in size. After several routine check-ups, doctors advised her parents to look somewhere else for more treatment. At that time, confusion set in and we went home.
“In May this year, she was taken to the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, at the Dental and Maxillo Facial Department and was diagnosed of the same thing that she was operated for. And after further clinical evaluation and investigation, she is expected to be operated on Friday, September 23, 2016.”
Nancy is due for surgery today, and the parents are appealing to kind-hearted Nigerians for help. The surgery is estimated to cost N700,000, but Nancy’s parents said they’ve been able to raise just N250,000 after selling off most of their property. This is even as the hospital has agreed to go ahead with the surgery to keep her alive.
Anyone who wishes to help the poor girl live a normal life again can reach the family on 09072711700 or 07056569190.