From: TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt Hundreds of youths in Rivers State yesterday, staged a peaceful protest in Port Harcourt, condemning the activities of some operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the state police command. Protesting on the platform of Niger Delta Non-Violence Youth Leaders Assembly (NDNYLA), they marched through some major streets in…
•Residents of Ijeshatedo wail over bad roads, others
By Precious Ihejirika
Many residents of Ijeshatedo, Lagos, cannot believe their fate. They are unhappy with the state of infrastructure in their community. They are vexed that roads in their area have remained in a terribly bad state and cannot understand why successive governments – state and local – have abandoned such critical infrastructure, with no one doing anything to save the situation.
Ijeshatedo, like many other urban areas, has many streets. According to Daily Sun investigation, among the major ones are Adesina, Omilani, Ilamoye, Agunlejika, Ijesha Road, Tapa, Agutasola, Ogulana and Baruwa streets.
Ijesha Road appears to run like a major artery in the area. It is like the livewire of the community. Many important businesses and establishments, including a bank, are located on the street. Because of the importance of the road, it is supposed to boost the economy of the area. Indeed, a good part of the street up to Ijesha Market is paved. But not the rest part, which empties into Adesina Street, leading to the popular Mile 2-Oshodi Expressway.
When the correspondent visited the street recently, it was a complete eyesore. The entire stretch was riddled with craters and potholes. It was a pain in the neck of motorists, tricycle riders, pedestrians and the public. With every single drop of rain, the road is virtually rendered impassable. The worse spot appeared to be the area overlooking the Ijesha Police Station. Every inch of the area is always covered with floodwater, as the drainage channels are full to the brim, spilling stinking, algae-infested waters into the street. The waters conceal craters that might measure a ruler or two deep, and the situation has become the nemesis of many passing the area. On each side of the road are carcases of vehicles abandoned by the police. Often, the residents rally to fill the potholes with materials in order to make the road passable. But their efforts so soon come to naught.
“It is unfortunate that government has abandoned this stretch of the road,” a man who identified himself as Segun lamented. “When the state government constructed the Ijesha Road up to Ijesha Market, we were happy that the rest part would soon be completed. But we were wrong. For years, we have been waiting without anything happening. And now, the road is getting worse. We don’t seem to know who to blame now. We plead with the Lagos State government to come to the aid of the residents. People using this road are suffering.”
If Ijesha Road is bad, then Adesina is an eyesore. Every inch of the road, right from the expressway down to Omilani Street junction, is in a horrible form. The situation has remained like that for years. The street is characterised by a number of potholes, many of which can get vehicles stuck for hours unless help comes the way of the motorists.
A few years ago, the residents’ hope was raised when bulldozers rolled in and proceeded to destroy buildings and other structures believed to be obstacles in the way of reconstructing the road. Then, a huge drainage channel was constructed on one side of the road, suggesting that the residents were well on their way to enjoying the dividend of democracy. But that was all they could get. The road construction was abandoned as soon as it was started, and till now has remained worse that it was when work on it initially commenced.
Depending on who you ask, many are quick to blame a former local government chairman for the plight of the community.
“The road could have been completed long before now if a certain local government chairman who once took charge had proceeded to complete the work he started,” a man, Alhaji Ajiboye who claimed to be a landlord in the area told Daily Sun. “You can see how much everyone is suffering because of the terrible nature of this road.
“After the road was abandoned, we had thought that the state government would step in to help the residents, but our expectations have been fruitless. The plight of the people of this area shows clearly that life is brutish. Now as you can see, there is no single government presence here. We thought it was high time government did something to alleviate the suffering of the people of this area,” he said.
Another very important part of the road in the area, Omilani Street, presents a decrepit sight. The road connects Agbebi Street, and through it, many link up Ajuda. Through it also, residents connect some areas within the Coker community.
When the rains start pouring, Omilani Street is ever flooded, leaving motorists, okada riders and pedestrians struggling with the floodwaters.
Daily Sun further observed that another important street in the area, the Airways Road is in a mess. This is a road that was previously paved. But now, there is hardly anything to suggest that it once was. Most good things that many used to know about the road are no more.
Daily Sun further learned that most roads in Ijeshatedo have never been paved since they were constructed. They have remained that way. The likes of Tapa, Agutasolo, Wole Cole, Adegoyejo and the rest have never been tarred.
Streets such as Agulejika, Mogaji, Sanusi were once paved but for long, they have been abandoned. What is left of them right now is a relic of their once glorious past.
In the recent past, Odi Olowu Street was rehabilitated. Only recently, Imam-Thani Street had begun getting a facelift. Work on it is progressing though at a snail speed, with many wishing that it was completed and commissioned much earlier as planned.
A resident of the community, Chidinma Delight, described the poor situation of roads in the area as unbearable, lamenting that most of the waterlogged streets were a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which are the residents’ chief tormentors. She regretted that the amount of money expended on anti-malaria drugs was rising, saying that it was the common ailment of the people nowadays.
“The mosquitoes seem to be immune to insecticides. Sometimes, it would appear that the insecticides no longer work on them. Instead of the mosquitoes being eliminated, they keep increasing. We are tired of treating malaria fevers.”
A resident who remained anonymous complained that rather than fixing the bad roads, government came to collect taxes from them.
“We want them to give us roads. We want them to improve the ones we have here which appear to have been abandoned by them.
“If we have good roads, we won’t hesitate to pay our tenement rates and shop and trade permits as demanded by the government.
“It is not a crime if they can give us roads and streetlights. If we have such facilities, the community would be illuminated at night; criminals who lurk around at night would have no place to hide,” he said.
Jide, a commercial tricycle rider complained that the state of roads in Ijeshatedo area was worrisome. He said the bad roads were injurious to the tricycles.
He said that he had had to fix his tricycle often because of the state of the bad roads, which he said grew worse every day.