Kayode Fasua in Abeokuta
Ogun State Governor, Mr. Dapo Abiodun yesterday argued that his state, being the country’s largest industrial hub, deserved a special status in terms of consideration for road construction and reconstruction.
Abiodun hinged his argument on the deplorable state of federal roads across the state and called on the federal government to come to the state’s assistance.
He made this request at a stakeholders’ meeting held at Ogere along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, noting that roads in Ogun State had become deplorable owing to the activities of heavy-duty trucks.
Among others, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) attended the stakeholders’ meeting convened on the reconstruction of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
At the meeting, Abiodun said: “It is just right to say that Ogun State deserves a special status in terms of consideration for road constructions. I believe this is doable.
“It is not just for Ogun State; it is for the common good of all Nigerians and continued development of our great nation,” the governor justified his call for special status.
Abiodun observed that the longest part of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, the longest road that leads to busiest air and sea ports in the country, “is in the state and has over time deteriorated and become a nightmare to motorists and other road users.
“We are particularly delighted that the Lagos-Ibadan expressway is receiving federal government’s attention. Indeed, in the last two or three weeks, this road has been a nightmare. At certain points, I have had to personally intervene by directing traffic.
“Experience on this road diminishes the fact that this road leads to the busiest sea and air ports in Nigeria. We bear the most of the hardship on this road because the longest stretch of the road is in Ogun State.
“Whether the stretch from Lagos to Ibadan or the stretch that leads to the East-West Road of Sagamu-Benin expressway, the longest stretch lies in Ogun State”, he noted.
While appreciating the federal government for constructing the road, Abiodun however identified the ecological challenges facing the state as a result of the mining activities by the construction company, calling for more supervision in the issuing of mining licence to serve the environment.
He said his administration had commenced the construction of the Ijebu-Epe road, while appeal has been made to the federal government for the take over of the Lagos-Sango-Abeokuta road to take the load off the Lagos-Ibadan road as well as the 19.8-kilometre Atan-Lusada-Agbara, which plays host to multinational and domestic industries.
Abiodun pointed out the bad condition of the Sagamu-Ogijo-Ikorodu road, noting that though the state government had done palliatives on some of the roads, these could not be enough as total reconstruction was needed for durability.
He said two fire stations would be built at Isheri and Mowe, to respond to fire emergencies, while a trailer park would be sited at Sagamu to provide alternatives to the Ogere axis.
Also at the meeting, Fashola, ordered tanker and trailer drivers to move their vehicles out of the road, as pouring of used petroleum products was capable of destroying the roads.
He said the Lagos-Ibadan expressway constructed in 1974 and completed in 1978 was to promote north- south commercial activities, calling on the Federal Road Safety Commission to enforce road regulations, as the government could not afford its road to be destroyed by people, who are carrying out their private businesses.
While giving an assurance that the federal government would work with Ogun State to address the environmental challenges posed by the road construction, the minister noted that the federal government has heard requests of the state on other roads and attention would be given to them as funds become available.