Manholes of death on Lagos-Abeokuta highway

One of such manholes at Bolade Oshodi Bus Stop, Lagos

One of such manholes at Bolade Oshodi Bus Stop, Lagos

Residents of various communities in Oshodi, Ikeja and environs have called on the Lagos State government to find a lasting solution to the problem of manholes with missing covers, which they say are littering their communities and are capable of causing serious bodily injury to anyone who falls into them.

Particularly, regular users of the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway have raised the alarm over what they term ‘killer manholes’ that dot sections of the busy highway road from Bolade Oshodi to Ikeja Along Bus Stop.

Manholes are made to serve one purpose-function as openings with detachable covers that give access to an enclosed area, especially a sewer, drain, or tank.

Manholes come in different sizes, while some are quite shallow and may be said to pose no immediate danger if left open, others, on the other hand, are very deep, and could swallow up a fully grown adult.

Therefore, it is expected that manholes should be covered at all times, and should be opened only when necessary, albeit, for a short period of time.

As part of the danger the open manhole poses to road users, there have been daily occurrences of accidents on the expressway, with many drivers, who are not frequent users of the road, falling victims to severe mishap as a result of the manholes.

Furthermore, the dangerous spots still pose severe risk even for regular and careful drivers on the expressway, as motorists are forced to slow down as they approach the manhole, thereby exposing them to attack from hoodlums and armed robbers, who loiter around the area at night.

They have, therefore, appealed to the state government to urgently rehabilitate the scrappy portions of the road and block the manholes.

The Guardian observed that the frequent slowdown of vehicles when approaching a manhole usually result in traffic snarl on the corridor.

Some of the artisans around the area have through self-help filled some of the manholes with disused tyres to alert motorists of the impending danger. But their efforts are usually not enough as motorists still run into them resulting in accidents, especially at night when visibility is usually poor.

One of the artisans at Oshodi, who usually assist traders with heavy goods, popularly known as Alaabaru, Akeem Olanrewaju, said: “We feel very bad about the situation, especially when victims damage their cars on the road. It has been like that for some time now. We had put tyres to indicate that there is a danger ahead for motorists, but this has not yielded any positive result because some unknown people usually remove them at night.

“Even in the daytime, some motorists speeding on the expressway while attempting to meandre and switch to another lane, most often, end up colliding with other vehicles.”

A source at the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, attributed the development largely to the activities of saboteurs, who he said had apparently found a way of merchandising the covers of some of the manholes that were made of metal.

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