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Ogun border communities lament abandoned roads, frequent accidents

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In this piece, VICTOR AYENI examines the hardship inflicted on residents of some Ogun State communities bordering Lagos State due to the neglect

For many residents of communities such as Alagbole, Akute, Lambe, Giwa, Agbado and Oke-Aro, in Ogun State, bad road is one challenge they have had to contend with for years, despite the successive governments in the state. The hardship it has foisted on them is easily imagined.

However, one thing central to these communities is that they border Lagos State.

Sunday PUNCH gathered that the Ogun State Government had in 2013 commenced the construction of the road linking the Ogun-Lagos border communities in the Ifo Local Government Area, from Ojodu to Oke-Aro.

To this end, many properties were demolished to pave the way for the dualisation of the road despite resistance from several property owners.

In spite of former Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s lofty promise to complete the road in 24 months, after a decade, the road project has been abandoned leading to a series of road accidents and loss of lives.

When our correspondent visited Alagbole and Lambe communities during the week, it was observed that the road remained in bad shape as only one lane of it was being used by motorists, while the abandoned lane had been filled with deposits of mud.

A resident of Alagbole, Wale Ayanbisi, told Sunday PUNCH that the abandoned lane that the government did not fix had made many motorists to resort to one-way traffic, which has caused accidents.

He said, “The condition of this road is very bad. From Ojodu down to this place is a double lane, but only one of the lanes was fixed by the government, the other was not. So, most of the vehicles avoid taking the abandoned lane and this has led to a series of accidents that have resulted in the loss of lives.

“I have lived here for over four years and there have been cases of pedestrians crossing the road being knocked down because they were not expecting oncoming vehicles. I have seen people’s blood splashed on these roads due to accidents.

“This past month, I was told someone was crushed to death by a car, and afterwards, the task force came around and began to arrest vehicle owners who took one-way traffic and fined them huge sums of money. It was baffling that they didn’t seem so bothered about the state of the road that prompted vehicle owners to resort to taking one-way traffic.”

Ayanbisi added that about a week ago, a commercial motorcyclist told him how he witnessed a collision between a vehicle taking one-way traffic and an oncoming motorcycle.

“This road is actually taking lives and causing much damage to vehicles. My neighbour has complained numerous times about the frequent damage to his car by the bad roads, which had continued to cost him a lot of money to fix.”

A resident of Lambe, Bolaji Gbolahan, recalled that when Amosun was the governor, he embarked on demolition from Akute to Lambe to expand the road but that he reconstructed only one lane out of a two-lane road.

He added, “The project was abandoned. Not only were the owners of the demolished structures not duly compensated, the road was abandoned.

“There was also a bridge that the governor constructed that had even made things rather worse because whenever there is a downpour, the water flowing around it doesn’t move due to the blockage of the water channels. In fact, most drivers prefer to bypass it.

“Prior to the 2023 election when people complained, only a lane of the road was fixed. Since then, vehicles can pass through the road, but whenever it rains there is traffic because the road is not motorable and cars are unable to pass through it due to potholes. A lot of vehicles frequently break down there.”

Another resident of Lambe, Dayo Agbede, told our correspondent that oftentimes he avoided taking the road unless the outing was compulsory, because the road poses risks to commuters.

He added, “It has been like this for as long as I can recall and it seems to be getting worse. The road has big potholes and vehicles have no choice but to pass through them.

“The alternative is for commuters to pass through Abule Egba, Ijaiye going towards Sango side instead of passing through Agbado. I have seen motorcycles having accidents, especially during the rainy season because of the deep, thick mud that fills the road. There are times when tricycles spin and haul occupants into the flood. It’s so traumatic.

“In 2013, they constructed flyovers in Alagbole, Akute, Giwa and another at Agbado. Up till now, only the one at Alagbole has been completed. The rest of these bridges have been abandoned.”

On his part, a commercial driver in the area, Ibrahim Bada, accused the Governor Dapo Abiodun of being non-responsive to the discomfort that residents experience on the road.

He added, “Our governor has not been responsive to our persistent cries about the problems we are facing on this road. During the dry season, the dust here is terrible and during the rainy season, it is flooded.

“During the rainy season, there is heavy traffic and you would see people trekking from Ojodu Berger to Alagbole. The governor should please help us and do something. Our vehicles are getting spoilt on this road.

“This is why the transport fare on this route is higher than it is supposed to be. Commercial drivers and motorcyclists have to add the expenses of fixing their vehicles and bikes due to the bad state of the road to the fares levied on passengers.”

A landlord in Akute, Mr Bayo Okelola, bemoaned how the road had disrupted economic activities in the area and caused people to relocate out of the community.

He said, “The bad road is really affecting economic activities because business owners are also badly affected. Every one of us is affected; even tenants have relocated and refuse to rent houses here knowing the ordeal they will be subjected to.

“The road project has been stalled several times since 2013 and we are tired of talking because we have done everything we know we could do to see things change, but will the government listen?”

However, the governor in a tweet via his official Twitter handle @dabiodunMFR on Monday, said in line with the current realities in the country and as part of efforts to ameliorate the effects of the removal of fuel subsidy on residents of the state, his administration had approved several measures for immediate implementation.

It partly read, “Immediate road infrastructure intervention, with all the local governments working with Community Development Associations and community leaders to submit three roads that require immediate intervention as part of the palliative programmes and support for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises through special schemes to boost production capacity and employment generation.”

When contacted, the Chairman of Ifo Local Government, Moji Tawa, told Sunday PUNCH she would not comment on the telephone.

She stated, “Sorry, I won’t give any comment on the phone. I have been quoted a number of times. When I talk like this, I will be quoted and I don’t want to be quoted again, please. When we see, I can talk.”

When contacted, the Special Adviser to the Ogun State Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Ade Akinsanya, said the road construction was ongoing and would be done in phases.

“The construction is ongoing from Sango-Ijoko and also from the Akute area. Construction is being done in phases. You can visit the ongoing work along Sango-Ijoko,” he told our correspondent.

of crucial roads under construction

 

Interview

OLAJUMOKE OMOLOLA, CO-ORDINATOR, PEP4NW LAGOS STATE, WINS UNICAF’s ESSAY COMPETITION

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The Co-ordinator, Progressive Empowerment Project for Nigerian Women (PEP4NW) Lagos State Chapter, Comrade Olajumoke Omolola emerges first runner up in UNICAF’S Essay Competition under the topic: THE ROLE OF EDUCATION IN EMPOWERING TO SUCCEED, in commemoration of International Women’s Day 2024.

The competition was designed as annual event to raise the voice of women and bring out the creative ingenuity in them.

Announcing the result of the Essay Competition, Kehinde Ayodele Olasanmi, Marketing and Public Relations Manager, UNICAF, states that apart from the price money, announced winners – 1st, 2nd, 3rd in the competition will also get a generous UNICAF scholarship of 75% to study online with UNICAF, in fulfilment of UNICAF’s vision of increasing access to quality higher education.

“I’m proud to have come 2nd in a competition that had participants from outside the shores of Nigeria” says an elated Olajumoke Omolola. “I’m also honoured and humbled to have participated in the essay competition. Beyond the price money and the scholarship, UNICAF has also significantly raised the stakes in our collective drive to deepen the economic space with the active involvement of the Nigerian Women in creating sustainable means of livelihood. An empowered woman is an equipped woman with the requisite tools to play her role in the development of the country.”

The topic of the Essay Competition resonates with the objective of Progressive Empowerment Project for Nigerian Women which has been involved in activities, programmes and projects designed to elevate women and expand the scope of their participation in economic activities, particularly at grassroots level.

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N109.4bn Fraud: We Didn’t Promise Ex-Accountant General No Prosecution – EFCC

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has denied promising a former Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, that he will not be prosecuted if he volunteers information relating to his N109 billion corruption allegation.

An EFCC official with the Kano office of the commission, Abdulhamid Isa Muri, on Tuesday, told an FCT High Court that there was no truth in the claim by Idris that he was promised non-prosecution.

Led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe Esq, during a trial-within-trial to ascertain the voluntariness of Idris’ statement, Muri said he obtained the statement voluntarily, adding that the former AG was never detained in its Kano office.

Idris was re-arraigned last October 27, 2022, on 13-count charges bordering on alleged misappropriation of the sum of N109bn, alongside Olusegun Akindele, Mohammed Usman and Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited.

Justice Yusuf Halilu has fixed October 29 to enable Idris open his defence on the trial.

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Three More Women Testify Against Suspended Permanent Secretary Of Foreign Affairs Ministry Over Alleged Sexual Harassment

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At least three more women have testified against the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ibrahim Lamuwa on the same allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by one Simisola Fajemirokun-Ajayi who is said to be an aide to the minister.

Simisola Fajemirokun-Ajayi had earlier written a petition to the minister which forced the latter to equally write to the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Folasade Yemi-Esan, to probe the allegation.

 

This made the Head of Service set up a panel to investigate the allegations after suspending the Permanent Secretary, pending the probe’s outcome.

 

However, findings by PRNigeria revealed that at least three more women had approached the probe panel to lodge similar allegations of sexual harassment against the Permanent Secretary.

 

 

Meanwhile, the Joint Negotiating Council, JNC, the labour union in the Ministry, had also accused the permanent Secretary of high-handedness, maladministration, favouritism and financial improprieties, which, according to them, had significantly affected the welfare and rights of the workers.

 

 

 

In a petition addressed to the Minister, Ambassador Tuggar and dated 11th of June, 2024, the staff union accused the Permanent Secretary of relegating all issues that had to do with staff welfare, allowances, emoluments, training etc to the background.

 

 

They specifically highlighted the denial of various benefits the workers were entitled to, which had been a source of their discontent for months.

 

 

 

In the petition obtained by PRNigeria, the union listed and explained in detail the series of benefits that the workers were entitled to that Ambassador Lamuwa had been denying them for months.

 

 

They accused him of unduly and illegally favouring a certain category of people and victimising those who did not dance to his tunes, in the area of posting, training and other benefits like Hajj seats.

 

 

Some of his alleged crimes against the labour union as listed in the petition include delay in payment of some benefits, delay in promotion and conversion of staff, lack of transparency in posting exercise, delay in paying of clothing allowance, discrimination in paying First 28 Days Allowance, lack of fairness in the distribution of the 2024 Hajj seats, inadequate posting of Batch B officers to foreign missions, poor sanitation and hygiene due to insufficient water supply, lack of work tools, dilapidated office buildings, refusal to pay the 25th regular course allowance for nine months among others.

 

In the petition signed by JNC Chairman, Comrade Ali Seidu, and Assistant General Secretary, Comrade Akpana S.E, the union urged the Minister to look into their grievances and address the series of injustice allegedly done by the Permanent Secretary to avoid a drastic action by the workers.

 

“Consequent upon the maladministration, dwindling level of productivity occasioned by the administrative leadership apathy in the ministry, the JNC has been engaging with the management thinking its solidarity with the authorities of the Ministry will yield positive results and prompt action on pending issues.

 

“Unfortunately, there was no corresponding improvement instead, the management has become worse, unreceptive and very harsh to everyone who dares to speak and ask questions. Victimisation, intimidation, and harassment has become a tool the management uses to shut critics while the staff of the Ministry continue to suffer.

 

“The staff of the Ministry are outraged by the egregious neglect, surreptitious administrative skullduggery, manipulations and commercialisation of the Ministry’s activities by the Permanent Secretary and his allies under the guise of rejuvenation. They have introduced harmful practices that threaten the very fabric of our Institution. We demand an immediate end to all their destructive policies and a return to the principles of fairness, equity and transparency. We call on the Honourable Minister to direct the authorities to investigate these grievances and take swift action.

 

“We the staff hereby give a 21-days ultimatum to the Management to immediately address the grievances outlined in our communiqué, failure to do so will be met with strong resistance,” the petition read in part.

 

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