The residents of Tedi, a Lagos community, have borne the brunt of deplorable roads and complete neglect by the government for several years. Vanessa Obioha, who visited the community recently, reports
For the residents of Tedi, a Lagos community, the difficulty posed by deplorable roads have made life unbearable. It seemed all their pleas to the government to repair their roads have yielded no positive outcome. They've pleaded, lamented and prayed endlessly for government intervention, but all their efforts for redemption have proved futile.
So for a community of about 100,000 in population, the government has turned its back, leaving them to their fate, especially with the coming of the rains.
Tedi is nestled in the middle of Oriade and Ojo Local Governments Area. It can be accessed through Abuleoshun, opposite the Trade Fair Shopping complex or Onikere, opposite the Ojo Army Barracks along Lagos-Badagry Expressway. Despite these two access points, the roads leading to this area are impassable. A long stretch of loose sandy soil often stalls the movement of cars or trucks from the Abuleoshun area while a canal that is essententially a death trap normally halts the movement of vehicles from Onikere.
This canal, which separates Tedi from the Oriade community, has in the past caused fatal accidents to residents, but a culvert is currently being constructed by Oriade Local Government Area to aid residents in plying the route. The road was completely cut off and was only used by pedestrians or motorcycles through a footbridge.
Sandbags, muddy waters, potholes characterised the roads leading to this suburb. The populace live in fear during the rainy seasons as they are handicapped by the bad roads leading to their homes.
The only respite they enjoy is during the dry season when there is little or no rain at all. But even this is short-lived as industries in this environment make life difficult for the people. Heavy trucks belonging to the Chinese road construction company (CCECC) ply the Abuluoshun road daily to a nearby dredging company in the neighbourhood where they load heaps of sand. Other factories situated in the community are no exception to this derailment which builds up traffic that can last for hours. This according to the residents has contributed immensely to the deterioration of the roads.
The unhappy residents of Tedi have perhaps gone beyond their communal efforts to bring to a halt the plague of poor infrastructure development that had befallen them for more than a decade. The worrisome condition of their environment has inadvertently led the community leaders to reach different media to convey their plight to the government, hoping that help will be rendered to them but all they have been given so far are empty promises.
Saddened by the poor state of the community, the leader of the Igbo community within the area, Mr. Paul Agbanusi narrated how the bad roads and floods have stalled the progress of business in the community.
He said: “Nothing is moving in this community because of our bad roads. One can hardly find artisans within the community because of the trouble they go through during rainy seasons. They have all left for better places. Our markets are no longer patronised due to the flood. Life has been so unbearable for us over here. Even our children who attend schools outside the community have difficulty leaving the environment during the rainy season.”
At Tedi, the roads are in such a terrible state that light showers could hinder the movement of the people. And when that happens, the residents are left with no other option than to stay indoors or waddle through the murky waters.
A community predominantly occupied by the Ibos of which majority are traders at the nearby Trade Fair Shopping Complex, the damaged roads have impacted negatively on their businesses as more business hours are lost in traffic daily.
A trader and also a landlord at Tedi community, Onyebuchi Omike recounted how he witnessed a fatal accident of a young girl on his way to work on a certain morning.
He said: “Due to the poor state of our roads, some of us rely on motorcycles to get to our different destinations since our cars can hardly move under such condition. As I was leaving for work that morning, I saw a child fell into the murky waters as she tried to balance herself on the motorcycle. It was so scary that I never believed she survived the accident.”
Indeed it has become a custom for residents of Tedi to ride motorcycles and tricycles during the raining season with one motorcycle carrying as much as three passengers during the rainy season.
Beside the damaged roads, Social amenities have continued to elude Tedi and the community can hardly boast of any infrastructural development. According to the Baale of the community, Mukaila Kareem, the only government-owned primary school in the community was built in 1957.
“There is no government-owned secondary school in Tedi.” he lamented.
More worrisome however is the lack of drainage system which also contributes to the flood and other environmental hazards. The residents are forced to dump refuse on the streets or incinerate it since the services of LAWMA is not extended to this community despite their efforts to get one.
Ironically, despite the vast development in other communities under the Ojo Local Government Area, Tedi is still left unnoticed as the LGA has contributed nothing tangible to the community.
Speaking on this, the community chairman for the Landlord Association, Alabi Orisande pointed out that other communities that are far more remote than Tedi enjoy better roads.
He said: “We are completely neglected by the Ojo local government. They have done nothing for us. If you go to places as far as Shibiri, they have well tarred roads but you can't find such in Tedi. Tedi is a very commercial place in Ojo but sadly, the LGA has abandoned us. There is no health centre, no school, and no developmental facilities on grounds, even though we have lands available for them to establish such.”
He continued: “Our children have to go far away to study, paying huge amount of money. It is only during election they make their appearances here and we voted for them. We all belong to Action Congress of Nigeria party, but what have we been given in return, nothing. It’s so bad that we don’t even know the councillor of the Tedi community and we voted for him. All the facilities you see here were done by us to the extent that we had to install the transformer they gave to us all by ourselves. It’s a very pathetic situation here. Why can’t the government come to our aid? We are abandoned by both the local government and the state government. Once again, we are appealing to the government. Enough is enough.”
The Chairman of the Community Development Association, Chief Muka Bajulaiye recalled how the present administration in the state Lagos promised to deliver them from their quandary during its first electoral campaign.
He said: “The governor promised to repair our roads during his first term campaign but till date, we are yet to have good roads. We pay our taxes and land use charge, but what do we get in return, nothing. No infrastructure, nothing is doing well in this community. Yet they send their officials at the end of the month to collect their levies from us. Look at the Ira/Muwo Bridge they promised to repair but for the past four to five years that bridge had been abandoned. Both the contractor and his employees are yet to complete that bridge, meanwhile in other places in Lagos, it doesn’t take them more than six months to complete such. We are still begging the government to please do something about our plight. We are part of Lagos state.”
Still lamenting on the promises of the Lagos state government, another resident and a Deputy Local Government Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria in Ojo, Alhaji Adeyinka regretted that his community gave their vote to ACN, yet nothing has been done to the community by the government.
“There is nothing you can point to in this community that is a project of the state government or the local government except the newly renovated primary school. Our patience is gradually growing thin. If the council officials come to collect levies next time, we may refuse to pay if there is nothing to show for it. Our youths are getting very angry. We are begging the government again, to please repair our roads,” he said.
At the site of the Ira/Muwo Bridge, everywhere looked abandoned. The construction of the bridge which was awarded to Messrs Moreno Marinas Lagoon Plc is yet to be completed just as security guards on the premises complained of non-payment of salary for the past seven months.
However, before the road was awarded to the contractor, members of the Igbo community had contributed both physically and financially to patch up the roads only for the contractor to foil all their efforts, leaving the road in a worsening condition. This bridge if completed would serve as another link to avert the regular heavy traffic at Volks bus-stop along the Lagos/Badagry Expressway.
Now, the question on the minds of the residents of this forgotten land is how long will they have to wait before the Lagos state government fulfils its promises?