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Ogbomoso: Residents groan over deplorable roads

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Ogbomoso: Residents groan  over deplorable roads

The expressway from Ibadan to Oyo Town links Ogbomoso and leads to Ilorin in Kwara State. The three sections of the linkage were contracted out since the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo but while the Ibadan to Oyo section, as well as, the Ogbomoso to Ilorin sections were completed and have been put to use, that of Oyo to Ogbomoso has remained uncompleted ever since.

 

It was re-awarded for construction in 2010, but is still at about 58 per cent completion stage. The old single-lane Oyo/Ogbomoso Road which the yet-to-be-completed dual carriage way should have served as alternative, has continued to claim lives of many travellers due to its deplorable state.

 

Worried by the incessant, but avoidable deaths resulting from auto crashes being recorded on the road for the past nine years, residents of Ogbomoso Town last Wednesday, trooped out in protest, blocking the major road linking Oyo to Ilorin and creating gridlock on the axis for hours to draw the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari to their plight.

Noting that another round of election is around the corner, the residents of the town urged the Federal Government to pump in more money into the construction of the alternative dual carriage way, noting that its construction had commenced since 2010.

 

They equally urged the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), to urgently declare a state of emergency on the road and have it completed within a year, lest it drags into another administration.

 

It would be recalled that the Federal Government in August 2016, had reactivated the construction of the road with another N6billion pumped into it to facilitate its quick completion.

At the flag-off ceremony performed by Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, where members of the National Assembly, top government officials and the Alaafin of Oyo, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111, with Fashola represented, it was said that the road project would be completed in compliance with the Federal Government’s specification.

Fashola, who was represented by Mr Anya Omoregbe, the Federal Controller of Works in Oyo State, had said that the ministry would ensure that Nigerians got good value for their money.

 

Following the snail speed of the construction and the realisation that the first term of President Muhammadu Buhari was gradually folding up, the residents comprising monarchs, traditional title holders, as well as, several stakeholders including youths, carrying placards of various inscriptions, last week converged on Takie Roundabout in the heart of the town, complaining on the plight of commuters that have continued to lose their lives in accidents on the road.

 

The protesters comprising socio- cultural organizations, religious groups, including Christians Association of Nigerian, (CAN Ogbomoso zone), Igbo Community, Hausa Community and other interest groups, carried their placards containing inscriptions, among which were: “ FG: Complete our road”; “35 minutes Journey is now 2 hours“; “Ogbomoso-Oyo Road is our Boko Haram”; ”Stop the killings, fix our road”; “We are not animals, we deserve better roads”; “Complete 18 year projects” and many others.

 

Others who were present included Bishop Adebayo Akintola (Secretary, Head of Churches), Chairman, League of Imams and Alfas, Ogbomoso zone, Alhaji Imam Nafiu Abdulkareem Atanda and Hon. Michael Abioye (Secretary, Egbe Omo Ogbomoso Parapo Agbaye).

 

Speaking on behalf of the people, Rev. Dr. Israel Olaniyan, complained about the snail speed at which the road awarded in 2010, billed to be completed in four years, has dragged for nine years, still remaining at 58 per cent completion.

Olaniyan thanked the present administration for not cancelling the project it inherited, but however said that it only budgeted N2.8billion for the road this year, describing it as “grossly inadequate for the work.”

 

According to him, the road was a death trap killing more than HIV and AIDS, as on weekly basis, “15 persons die on the road per week, amounting to 780 persons in 52 weeks. If this number is multiplied by 9 years, it amounts to 7,020 lost since 2010. This is alarming and calls for urgent completion.

 

Even yesterday, some commuters lost their lives around Oolo. The construction of the dual carriage highway, which started 18 years ago, has left the Ilorin-Ogbomoso and Oyo-Ibadan portion in a particularly deplorable condition while the Ogbomoso-Oyo axis of the express road is yet to be started.

 

The situation has left no option for commuters than to continue to use the old Ogbomoso-Oyo Road which is a one lane road plied by vehicles of all sizes, going to and from the Northern Nigeria.

 

These have been a recurring decimal that must not be allowed to reoccur. An accidental death on the road has drastically cut short the life expectancy of persons living in this part of Nigeria, ” Olaniyan said.

 

He therefore appealed to President Buhari “to make completion of the road a priority with more Sukkuk loan ploughed into the project. The National Assembly should make supplementary appropriation that would complete the project within a year. Completion of the dual carriage way will apart from saving lives, aid in no small measure both transportation and economic activities across Nigeria, especially the North-South West-bound goods”, he said on behalf of the teeming protesting residents of Ogbomoso

 

Meanwhile, the Oyo State House of Assembly Speaker, Joshua Ojo, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to expedite action on the completion of the Oyo-Ogbomoso dual carriage highway.

 

Mr Ojo, representing Oriire state constituency in the Assembly, said this at the weekend, adding, “The old road has become a death trap; so many lives have been lost unnecessarily, due to the poor condition of the road. The wastage must be stopped.

 

“Not long ago, some school principals lost their lives on the same old road while going for a conference in Oyo. It is very pathetic. The carnage on this old road weekly is alarming.

 

“We plead with President Muhammadu Buhari to look at the agonies and pains so many Nigerians are passing through on that corridor and come to our aid. We want the Federal Government to expedite action and make sure the road is completed immediately. We urge President Buhari to declare a state of emergency on this highway.

 

“We want construction work on this road resuscitated and expedited to end all carnage the old road had caused so many homes and families.”

 

According to him, the pains suffered by the people occasioned the peaceful protest residents staged a few days ago on the road, where people were calling for the completion of the dual carriage highway.

 

The Speaker, who commended members of the National Assembly from the state for doing their best, therefore urged them not to relent in the quest for the completion of the critical highway.

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