Residents of Alagada community in the Obafemi/Owode Local Government, Ogun State, have lamented the deplorable condition of the link road in the community, which they alleged was caused by the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan rail project in the axis. The aggrieved residents said a tunnel constructed as a link road had become impassable due to incessant flooding.
They said the flooding arose from improper channelling by the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), the contractor handling the project.
Eko Trust reports that the decayed road leads to, among other outlets, the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Ojere, and the Federal Prison, Oba, from where inmates are transported for trial in Abeokuta, the state capital, during weekdays.
The residents protested at the weekend to drive home their demand for an urgent fix of the road to help ameliorate their sufferings.
They bore many placards, some of which read, ‘Alagada/Oba road is a death trap, save us’, ‘Our farm produce can’t get to the market, kindly fix our roads’, ‘Our road was good before the arrival of railway contractors’, ‘We are tired of losing lives on this road’, ‘Our livelihood depends on this road; 50 communities depend on it’, and ‘Please, save us from imminent hunger and death.’
According to them, the road has become a death trap as many lives had been lost to floods, which they said swept away from properties and farmlands.
The Baale of Alagada community, Chief Amos Akanbi Odejobi, told newsmen that the road, constructed in 1999 by the administration of the then governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, was “passable until the railway contractor came to destroy it.”
Odejobi said CCECC had reneged on the promise to fix the road and called on Governor Dapo Abiodun to prevail on the contractor to fix it.
He said, “The access road to this community was in good condition. Most of the people who relocated to the community knew the condition of the road before they moved in. “But when the rail project began, it affected our road. The contractor’s officials promised us that they would maintain the standard of the road even better than how they met it and we believed and supported them.
“However, along the line, we discovered that all they wanted to do was just to construct the bridge for the train. Unfortunately, the villagers who live here have no other access road to the town. This is the only road linking the Nigerian Prison in Oba and Moshood Abiola Polytechnic. When it rains, everything stands still. Nobody can go out because of the heavy flow of water.
“We discussed with the contractor’s officials on many occasions because we don’t want to quarrel with them, but they told us they were only paid to construct the railway line. Now, the situation has gone to a stage that our children cannot go to school, market women cannot go to the market, even the prisoners going to court can be exposed to danger.”
Odejobi implored the federal and state governments to come to their aid in fixing the road.
The latest demand by the Alagada community came barely two weeks after about 75 communities from the Laderin section of the project stormed the Ogun State House of Assembly to protest their own plight regarding the project.
The communities lamented that apart from lack of access roads, the railway project had polluted their sources of water, and that erosion swept away their farmlands any time it rained. The Public Relations Consultant to the CCECC, Alhaji Abdulraouf Akinwoye, however, told our correspondent that the protesters acted on a “misconception”, thinking the project had been concluded and feared their demands may not be attended to.
“The CCECC is socially responsible and we have attended to the communities’ needs.
A number of them have been given boreholes. I want to assure them that we will not bring a railway project to create discomfort for them,” he said.
Kunle Somorin, the Chief Press Secretary to the Ogun State governor, said the state government was not aware of the development.
Somorin, therefore, urged the Alagada community to send its representatives to the state government to brief the government on its plight for government’s intervention.
Credit: Daily Trust