On Wednesday, April 24, 2019, a month to the end of his one term in office, then Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, invited President Muhammadu Buhari to the state on a one-day state visit to inaugurate a number of projects executed by his administration. Among the projects lined up for inauguration was the rehabilitated 10-lane Oshodi-Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road.
The road was designed to have a U-turn and two pedestrian bridges at the NAHCO bus stop and the popular 7/8 bus stop by Ajao Estate as well as a flyover at the intersection of the FAAN toll gate leading to and exiting from the international airport. Towards this end, an overhead bridge at the Mafoluku Junction bus stop by Ajao Estate Gate which pedestrians used to access either side of the expressway was pulled down to accommodate the expansion.
However, by the time the president officially opened the road, these two important components of the new design were not ready. It took another month before the U-turn on the head of the Apakun bridge could be fixed for public use. Incidentally, till date, work on the two overhead bridges at the NAHCO and 7/8 bus stops has since been stopped by the contractor. The effect of this is that commuters especially pedestrians who would want to cross either to the Ajao Estate or Mafoluku ends of the road at 7/8 bus stop undertake the dangerous dash of death across the 10-lane road, especially on Tuesdays when traders want to connect to the popular Aswani market nearby. In the process, many have been crushed to death by onrushing vehicles while the lucky ones among them have been left maimed for life from accidents.
Sadly, the Lagos State government under Babajide Sanwo-Olu is not in a hurry, or so it seemed, to mandate the contractor handling the project to return to site to complete the bridges and save the lives of Nigerians daily endangered as they seek to cross the road having been left without any other option. In saner climes, citizens would have taken class action against the government and the contractor, but not in Nigeria.
I use this medium to appeal to Governor Sanwo-Olu to rise up to the urgency of now and save innocent citizens he swore to serve from needless death because of his government’s failure to do the needful on the abandoned bridges. Any further loss of life arising from the failure to complete the bridges is a dent on his government.
Aliyu Akintayo, Ajao Estate, Lagos State