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Road Revamp Excites Ikorodu Residents


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Nigeria

IMAGE: A model of Mile 12-Ikorodu Road »

June 28, 2013

 

Gboyega Akinsanmi writes that after years of neglect, the Lagos State Government recently took over Mile 12-Ikorodu Road from the federal government and redesigned it to a standard six-lane road with two bus rapid transit (BRT) corridors and fifteen bridges along the 13.5-kilometre long road, but not without pains to the residents who lost their property

 

Before now Mile 12-Ikorodu Road was indeed a sore spot where most Lagos residents dare to avoid.  That happened for many reasons. The entire stretch of the road had become almost impassable due to its collapse. Commuters were spending hours from one end of the road to the other, because of chaotic traffic created by the bad portions of the road just as motorists had returned home with damaged cars in recent past.

Originally, the road was built by the federal government decades before the federal capital was relocated to Abuja and with the relocation of the federal capital, Ikorodu Road like several other federal roads in Lagos experienced neglect.

The neglect of the road thus became a pain –in –the-neck for Lagos residents who commute using the road until 2011, when the Lagos State Government started thinking about how to revamp it.

The road thus became a part of the state’s bus rapid transit (BRT) project, a designed route for transportation, which the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) had planned to extend to Ikorodu from Mile 12.

Though in its infancy, just about 20 per cent work done on the road, residents of Ikorodu are upbeat about the project.

“Things are changing here. The difficulties on the road are relaxing. I believe this road when completed will improve a lot of things and businesses will thrive more. I think Fashola is just a good leader,” said Adigun Omole who has lived in Ikorodu for 42 years.

LAMATA’s Managing Director, Dr. Dayo Mobereola said the road will be fully completed in December 2014.  “By the time it is completed in December 2014, it will bring to a permanent end the years of hardship for commuters and will open the area up for big business,” he said.

Awarded to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), LAMATA’S Managing Director explained further that the project would bring many benefits to the people of Ikorodu and its adjoining communities.

Mobereola said: “The road links many communities around Ikorodu up to Epe and that will greatly enhance business. It was once a major exit route out of the metropolis before the Lagos-Ibadan road built.”

He explained that the road redevelopment was also a comprehensive plan to extend the bus rapid transit (BRT) to Ikorodu and its adjoining communities.

Accordingly, the plan was based on the fact that most of the commuters that daily go for the BRT services live in Ikorodu and communities along the Mile 12-Ikorodu corridor, a development which the managing director said, would reduce gas emissions in the state by 16 per cent.

The managing director further gave insight into the construction of the ultra-modern infrastructure, which he said, was designed with the six-lane road comprising fifteen new bridges, three bus terminals, one bus depot, seven pedestrian bridges, twelve new U-turns, nine pedestrian crossing points, lane marking and signalised intersections. He said the road design was no doubt a masterpiece and the first of its kind in the state.

Mobereola explained that the project has generated a lot of jobs that had benefited both residents and non-residents of the area. He acknowledged that the project was designed “to generate 2,000 direct jobs and 5,000 indirect jobs. A lot of people will still be employed in the future, and the construction firm will consider the residents of  Ikorodu and all its neighbouring communities along the corridor for such employment.”

Beyond its benefits for the communities and their residents at large, the authority’s Director of Public Transport, Mr. Olugbenga Dairo gave updates about the project execution, which he said, was already 20 per cent completed. He acknowledged that the most difficult aspect of any road project was the beginning, a critical stage he said the construction firm had been able to scale through, though it was not an easy task.

Dairo said the construction firm has been able “to establish itself on the site and work has been going on steadily”. He said the drainage “has started in earnest. The bridge works are also going on. The culverts are also in progress. Most activities are carried out off the sites, which makes the work much easier than expected. Currently, the level of project completion is 20 per cent, which shows that the project would be delivered in record time.”

Aside from details on the project updates, Dairo explained LAMATA’s partnership with Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASMA), consultants and communities among others has ensured involvement of everyone and has greatly enhance the process and progress maded.

“This partnership ensured they played critical roles at the different phases of the project and will continue to play such role as we move on with project implementation and at the level of project completion. We have done a lot of work to make traffic along the corridor less congested. That is why traffic is less in spite of the on-going work.”

But in spite of what the state government has done to reduce hardship on the road, the residents are still disturbed at the manner the issues of compensation, market relocation and job offer to the residents were handled.

The former Commissioner of Information and Strategy in Lagos State, Mr. Ayodele Elesho  said though people are still denied compensation due to them following demolition of their property , the project  nevertheless  has become a turning point in the history of Ikorodu and its environs.

He pointed out that there “are still some issues about building demolition,” which he said, were yet to be settled. He added that a number of property owners, whose buildings were affected, are yet to be compensated at all. He said it was not because the state government was not ready to compensate them, but basically because those who “have not been compensated cannot meet the requirements of the state government.”

He gave reasons why they might not be able to meet the requirements the state government saying, “some of the affected buildings have been built decades ago. So, the issue of certificate of occupancy (C of O) was not really in place at the time. There was no way such property could have been properly documented.”

He thus pleaded with the state government to review its requirements for the compensation not to elude those whose property have been used for the road construction.

He also expressed dismay at the refusal of the construction firm to engage residents from Ikorodu and its environs. He explained what some of the residents, who were directed to the CCECC office faced. He said none of them came back with a report that he had been offered job opportunity, a situation which he said, was at variance with the company’s commitment to employing as many residents as  possible the during the project execution.

Elesho sought the state government’s understanding on the planned relocation of markets. He said it was an important aspect because if the traders “are properly relocated, it will not just affect their business, but also make life difficult for their children. Many of the market women are breadwinners. Some of them are widows.  Others have no social support at all”.

President-General of the Ikorodu Association of Nigerian Market Men and Women, Mrs. Afusat Allison further warned against the consequence of demolishing the market without proper relocation of the traders to a new place. Although she acknowledged LAMATA’s on-going plan to build ultra-modern market for Ikorodu, Allison demanded that the new market should be put in order before demolishing the existing one.

Allison’s request was based on the fact that the relocation could cause a disruption in the livelihood of the Ikorodu market men and women. She said:  “It is not just about the market really, but it is about feeding our children. Not just about feeding them alone, it is also about raising funds to send our children to schools. It is about providing basic needs for them and without a place to trade, how can we meet their needs?”

Besides, at a stakeholders meeting held in Ikorodu recently, the community leaders equally engaged LAMATA’s leadership on same issues and  Mobereola clarified them with precise details.

Contrary to what Elesho claimed,  Mobereola said a number of people of Ikorodu and other communities had benefitted from job opportunities and records of the beneficiaries were available.

He also assured the market men and women that they would reasonably be relocated once the new market is ready.

Also at the meeting, the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola expressed contentment with the level of work, which he said the construction firm and LAMATA had done so far. Fashola, who was represented at the meeting by his Special Adviser on Education, Mr. Fatai Olukoga, said “the authority is not doing the road alone. It has also put all the affected communities and their residents in focus in order to accommodate all interests.”

He explained what LAMATA’s helmsman went through while presenting the design of the road to the State Executive Council. He said he was asked to go back and finetune the design in a way that all interests would be accommodated. He added that since the road redevelopment has commenced in earnest, LAMATA and the construction firm have been conforming to the laid-down specifications, which the state council approved.

“The road project started almost one year ago, precisely in August 2012. Since then, the contractors have done a good job,” he acknowledged.

But the governor also urged the contractors “to reduce the pains and hardship of the commuters and other road users along the corridor as soon as possible.”  Fashola also called on the transporters and private car owners “to be patient and demonstrate a clear sense of understanding while using the road.”

The governor appealed to the traditional rulers and community leaders to assist LAMATA and the contractors to engage the transport operators on the need to be more conscious and careful while the construction work is on-going. “This becomes imperative to reduce accident rates and unnecessary traffic congestion,” he affirmed.

Unlike other BRT corridors in the state, the governor said the Ikorodu design was a peculiar one that made it the first in the state.

He said the BRT lanes would be at the median, which he said, was at variance with other BRT corridors across the state. By implication, he said the buses “will be at the median of the road rather than the two sides. As a result, there is no way other road users can in any way obstruct the BRT operations or some defiant transport operators and private car owners driving on these designated routes contrary to the state regulations.”

And now the residents look up to the governor to fulfill his promise for their compensation.

 

Article Credit: Thisday live

Updated 5 Years ago
 

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