Community Pleads For Pedestrian Bridge
THERE is no day we don’t suffer casualty on the road, our children are dying everyday and members of the community are being knocked down because there is no pedestrian bridge. We have made several appeals to government to come to our rescue and give us a bridge because of these children crossing from the other end to Onilekere.
Except for the newly constructed pedestrian bridge at Oshodi, the long stretch of Agege Motor Road from Ojuelegba, Lagos to Abeokuta Expressway terminating at Sango, Ogun State, has just one pedestrian bridge, sited at Ikeja Along Bus Stop.
For residents of several communities lined along the sides of this ever-busy highway, the absence of a pedestrian bridge, a ‘costly’ oversight on the part of government and designers of the route, has sent many to their early grave, while attempting to make a quick dash across the road to the other side.
One of such communities is Onilekere. Located at Cement bus stop, Onilekere has been in existence for over four decades and it shares boundary with the Murtala Mohammed Airport (MMA), Ikeja. A deep valley separates the community from the runway of the airport. A newborn baby after few weeks of living is already accustomed to the drone of airplanes landing and taking-off some metres away from the area.
A resident, Solomon Afegbua, notes that the community has been good neighbours with MMA for years and as such, there is no cause for alarm. “We are already used to the noise of airplanes because we met it there and in the history of this community, there has never been any incidence of plane crashing down on us. We have no reason to fear, though for a first-time visitor, he could be terrified seeing an aeroplane so close to the ground.”
The incessant drone of airplanes is, however, the least of the worries of residents. According to the president of Onilekere Residents Association (ORA), Stephen Adeseun, provision of a pedestrian bridge is the only dividend of democracy the community requires from the state government at the moment.
Two community schools, Onilekere Primary School and Onilekere Junior High School, are located by the bus stop, along the expressway and Adeseun says the young pupils are often victims of hit and run drivers. “There is no day we don’t suffer casualty on the road, our children are dying everyday and members of the community are being knocked down because there is no pedestrian bridge.
“We have made several appeals to government to come to our rescue and give us a bridge because of these children crossing from the other end to Onilekere. Close to a million people are living in this community and they commute everyday. One cannot be too careful, even my own sister was knocked down while crossing the road and she died immediately. There is no day the hospital around us here don’t receive casualties.
“This is why it is our primary concern now. Government should please save our souls. If you want to cross the road now, it will take at least 20 minutes for the road to clear before you can cross safely, if it is during peak periods, you may have to stay longer than that.”
Adeseun explains that majority of the accidents are caused by vehicles and okada running against traffic. “They are part of our problem in this community, especially danfo drivers and okada who take one way when traffic is building on the other lane. And many of the pedestrians don’t bother to look the other way when they are about to cross.”
BUT the plight of Onilekere and its sister community, Onipetesi, is not all about moaning the absence of pedestrian bridge. The communities are also grappling with other issues not strange to numerous neighbourhoods in the country such as good roads, electricity, water, security and drainages.
“In terms of infrastructure, we are happy to say that before Governor Babatunde Fashola came on board, we had written series of letters to the state government requesting for transformers because the one we were using in this community was installed in 1978, but when he was elected, he visited us and he promised he would give us transformers. To his credit, he brought two, one for us and one to our immediate neighbour, Onipetesi. That is all we have seen so far.”
And like the fabled Oliver Twist, they are lured to ask for more. Second on their list is the revamping of Egba Street, the road leading into the community from the express and the oldest street in Onilekere. It was last tarred by the administration of Lateef Jakande in 1983. The road has since gone into serious disrepair except for some few months ago when drainage was done on a section of the road; but that is yet to be completed.
Aside this, there is a health centre in the community that has been built and completed for more than a year, but is yet to be commissioned and put into use.
“As far as government programmes are concerned, we are promoters of government. When one sees the good job they are doing, we support it by encouraging people to pay tax. We even invite government officials to lecture our people on tax during our fortnight meetings. We do the same for our security by inviting law enforcement agencies to our meetings, where they share their problems with us and when possible, we come to their aid.”
Please, Save Our Lives – Residents Plead
Paul Adunwoke spoke to residents of some communities along the Abeokuta Expressway on the absence of pedestrian bridges along major bus stops on the highway.
Agege High School Students Are At Grave Risk
Alinco Shehu, Film Director
We need a pedestrian bridge here in other to save our people from risking their life by crossing this road. Mostly affected are students of Agege High School, who cross the road everyday to get to their schools from Alimosho, Egbeda, and Iyana-Ipaja to Alapa Agege. If there is anything government can do to save lives, it is by providing at least three pedestrian bridges along this route.
Drivers Do Not Respect Zebra Crossing
Bunmi Akeem, Hairdresser
Crossing this road is very dangerous because some motorists do not give way or respect the zebra crossing sign at PWD. What is even helping us a bit is the traffic light at the Ladipo junction. Whenever I want to cross, I have to walk down to Ladipo and wait for the traffic light to stop vehicles before I dash across. Sometimes, when you try to avoid running across a coming vehicle or motorcycle, you run into another person crossing from the other side of the road. We seriously need a pedestrian bridge, to make people feel secured.
The Fear Of Crossing Is Affecting Sales
Basil Efiong, Trader
There are so many people who are coming from other countries to buy or sell at Kotangora and the fear of crossing the expressway has been a barrier to good sales as one would expect. So many people have been crushed by vehicles, but if there had been a pedestrian bridge here, those that lost their lives would have been alive today.
The Bus Stop Forces Drivers To Slow Down
Dominic Ola, Student
Pedestrian bridge is very important here, though sometimes, drivers slow down because of the bus stop here. It is because commercial drivers stop to pick or drop passengers that make all vehicles to slow down a bit when they get to this place. We also get sometimes the assistance of some policemen and LASTMA officials, who help us to stop vehicles while we cross, but it definitely can be better with a pedestrian bridge.
Crossing Is A Big Risk
Usman Bello, Designer
Crossing this road is taking a very big risk. Though there is a provision for people to cross this road through the flyover bridge, people see it as going a long way before coming back to bus stop, which is why you see us prefer to cross the road without using the flyover at Iyana-Ipaja. If a pedestrian bridge is provided, people will be happier than they are now.