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Assessing Nigerian roads ahead of Christmas celebrations

Traffic gridlock at the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway under reconstruction….

Traffic gridlock at the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway under reconstruction….

Almost two weeks to the Yuletide festival, even with the agonies of the recessed economy, some Nigerians have concluded plans to travel home for one reason or the other. While some would be travelling for marriage ceremonies and other social events, others are going to their villages to celebrate the nativity with their friends and relatives.

Of much concern to these Nigerians are the means of affordable and safe transportation to their various destinations. For those who could afford and those who could not afford their own cars, the deplorable state of the roads is a nightmare. Also compounding the problem is the high cost of air transport.

The Guardian investigation yesterday revealed that a less than one hour flight from Lagos to Enugu in economy class costs between N32,000 to N36,000. It was also discovered that there are no available seats in most airlines flying to the South East and South South zones.

With this, it is obvious that majority of the travellers will surely travel by road for the celebration. For those that will be traveling from Lagos to Southeast and South-South zones, the ever-busy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is currently witnessing a deadly gridlock. This is because of the ongoing reconstruction works on the road.

Speaking to The Guardian on the harrowing experience of commuters and motorists on the road, an interstate bus driver, Nnaemeka Nnadi, said that the ongoing work has added to the suffering of people on the road.

Nnadi said: “Before the commencement of the reconstruction some months ago, we normally experienced traffic jams at the Redeemed Christian Church around Mowe-Ibafo axis. The traffic snarls often start around 3:00 pm. But since the commencement of the ongoing work on the road, traffic gridlock has become terrible. A journey that should ordinarily not take more than 15 to 20 minutes now takes over four hours and even more. The situation of the road becomes even more complex with the growing population of residential communities along the Mowe-Ibafo axis. This has greatly increased vehicular movement along the route.

“Unfortunately, there are no good and short alternative routes out of Lagos apart from Lagos-Ibadan road. The Ikorodu and Ota alternative routes are not only too long; they are deplorable. It is good that government is finally reconstructing the road. There is also urgent need for the contractors to increase the tempo of work, otherwise, travellers may celebrate Xmas in the traffic gridlock along the road.”

A resident of Mowe, Mr Ifeanyi Anoke, told The Guardian that due to the deplorable state of the road, he was compelled to relocate.

“I was living at Mowe before, but had to relocate after constantly going to work late due to traffic snarl on Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Aside the gridlock on the road and stress, security of lives has also become a serious concern. Since the road has been narrowed and traffic now move at snail’s speed, that is if it moves at all, robbers and other evil-minded people now unleash terror on commuters along the route.”

Investigation reveals that the situation is not all that different along Sagamu-Ijebu Ode-Ore road, where some construction works are ongoing, too.

Also before the recent palliative measure by the Federal Government on Enugu-Onitsha road, commuters and motorists have been having an ugly experience plying the road due to its dilapidated nature.

From administration to administration, there had been promises of the preparedness of the federal government to rehabilitate the road. Such promises usually heightened when elections drew near and no sooner would a new government come in than the promise was forgotten.

Along the about 100 kilometers from Enugu to Onitsha, the worst stretch before now was the Awkuzu -Umunya axis. The presence of very important establishments along the about five kilometers stretch, including the orientation camp of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) two major abattoirs, permanent site of Tansian University, among other offices, make it inevitable for motorist to pass through the road on a daily basis.

Due to the nature of the road, it is common for vehicles to break down there and oftentimes, broken down vehicles stay overnight with the consequence of thieves vandalising such vehicles.

It is also common to see emergency mechanics fiddling with broken down vehicles on that stretch and most times, they worsen the condition of the affected vehicles. Because drivers must reduce their speed once they get to the bad portion, men of the FRSC and the police often mount checkpoints in the area to be able to catch the drivers easily.

Even though, contractors have commenced work on some of the federal roads that have been abandoned over the years ahead of the Yuletide celebration, travelers, especially to the South-South and Southeast zones will surely face a harrowing traffic experience. This is due to either the deplorable state of the roads or the ongoing works on the roads.



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