By G9ija

Plying the long stretch of the Lagos-Badagry expressway is torture. Sections of the road have not been graded for long let alone tarred. Added to that are the several craters that dot the road. Yet, the Mile 2-Badagry-Seme road is Nigeria’s gateway to the West African coast. Driving on it at any time of the day takes special driving skills. At night, it is a nightmare for motorists.

With no streetlights, motorists run into potholes. This forces the driver to move at snail speed, while passengers are thrown east and west as the driver meanders through the myriad of potholes.   

From Mile 2 to Barracks, the road is motorable with little potholes, but from that spot onward, the deplorable state of the road stares users in the face and could only be imagined. The situation is a bit better between Okokomaiko and Ijanikin. But from Agbara, motorists move zigzag, sometimes intermittently driving against traffic to avoid gullies that could wreck the vehicle. The situation is worse when it rains. 

Compounding the plight of motorists on the route is the countless checkpoints mounted by various security officers. Stationed few metres away from each other, they help to further disrupt movement along the corridor. 

A resident of Badagry, Segun Adebayo, said he had abandoned his vehicle at home. “Almost every week, a mechanic works on my car to effect repairs. It does not make sense economically to be driving to work daily. And the awful state of the road is why this is happening.”

Sewanu Michael said the horrible state of the road has negatively affected the economic well-being of residents and business owners in the axis. Speaking further on how the state of the road has negatively impacted on the residents, he claimed it has created a mental comatose in the sense that people no longer reason normally about the government of the day.

Michael maintained that the government had been very insensitive and had violated the collective human rights of the citizens as entrenched in the universal human rights and that of the irrelevant constitution of 1999.

“We have been pushed to the wall and the only option left for us is to declare a total shutdown,” he said.

In 2018, the Federal Government awarded a contract for the rehabilitation of the road, but little work has been done on the road since then. The contractor moved to the site after the contract was awarded, but left thereafter. In 2019, without paying attention if the first contract awarded had been executed to the latter, the Federal Government announced a new contract to build on the earlier one, which will see the road rehabilitated to the Seme border post. 

The Public Relations Officer of CGC Limited, the construction company handling the project, Mr Yunus Oloolu, said coronavirus forced his company to abandon the site and work is yet to resume because expatriates working for his company have not returned to Nigeria. He claimed they left the country at the outbreak of COVID-19.

MEANWHILE, as youths in the country continue with their widespread #EndSARS protests, youths in the area have called for the redeployment of the Divisional Police Officer of encouraging police extortion. They have, therefore, said they would not leave the streets until all the checkpoints are dismantled in the axis.
 
According to a media and political activist, Ovi Manuel Kuponu, the DPO of Badagry division allegedly deploys policemen under his watch to extort money from motorists, thereby causing diplomatic embarrassment to Nigerians on the international highway and inflicting more pains on residents enduring the dilapidated road.
 
“Also, the DPO, Peter Gbesu, personally led policemen to disrupt, brutalise and arrest three of the #FixLagosBadagryExpressRoad protesters who embarked on a peaceful procession from Mowo Junction to Aradagun Bus Stop.”
 
But reacting to the allegations, the spokesman of the Lagos Police Command, Muyiwa Adejobi, simply said: “It is not true. Please ignore the rumours.”