Kunle Adelabu with Olowu Olumide & Opeyemi (SIWES Students)
-Igbe Laara, Gintin residents call for completion of abandoned Afa bridge
The HiTech Construction Company, the construction giant handling the reconstruction of the Ipakodo/Igbogbo/Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu Way/Afa/Igbe Laara road project, has returned to the site on Tuesday, October 3, 2023, to commence the abandoned project after over year that it vacated the site, but their return has generated mixed reactions from residents.
While the residents of Igbogbo down to Oreyo/Olumo axis of the project, welcomed the return of the construction company and appealed for quick completion of the project which they said has adversely affected their social and economic lives, those at Igbe Laara and Gintin axis have dismissed the resumption.
While some of them are saying that they have not seen the company working for the past days, others are of the view that they ought to have returned to the Afa axis of the road, to complete the bridge that is under construction which, according to them, has made that part of the road totally unmotorrable, especially during the rain.
Our reporters that have been monitoring the road project since the company’s resumption, can authoritatively report that work is ongoing simultaneously from the Igbogbo cemetery where the road connects Ipakodo to Odofin/AUD Primary School, Igbogbo junction; Adeboruwa/Club 24 area and Agarawu/Stadium axis of the road.
Mr Aroyewun Adeleke, a legal practitioner and PRO, Igbogbo Youth Coalition (IYC), speaking with THE IMPACT, described the resumption of construction works on the road as a welcome development.
“Evidently, the completion of the road is long overdue, and the residents of lgbogbo community have a remarkable culture of long standing patience”, he said.
“I hope that this particular action of going back to (the site) would not be short-lived. We strongly hope the tempo will be sustained till it is finally completed. My optimism is as high as every other person in the community. I hope we are not disappointed this time”, he added.
Gbenga Ajayi expressed delight over the restart of the project, stating that it would open up Igbogbo, when completed.
He urged the state government to ensure the project is completed in good time.
“I think the project will boost our businesses. It will expose the community to the world coupled with construction of the stadium along the same road. All in all, it will affect the economy of Igbogbo town in general, positively.”
“I really hope this project is not abandoned again, considering the stress residents are passing through on daily basis”, he added.
A shop owner along the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu road, Mrs Idera, lamented that the road has caused many people so much hardship. She stated that the government is not fair to the people for abandoning the road project for many years.
The resident pleaded with government to do everything in ensuring that the construction company does not abandon the project again.
Mrs Lawrence, a food seller, expressed fear over the rate at which house owners increase house and shop rents, because of the ongoing road project.
“The project will not boost our businesses because agents and house owners are taking advantage of the whole situation by increasing rent unnecessarily. This is not good at all”, she said.
Another food seller at Oreyo axis of the road, Mrs Ajiboye, was indifferent over the return of HiTech to site.
“There is nothing surprising or cheering about HiTech starting to work again. This is not the first time this will happen, but I just hope they are serious this time around”, she said.
Another resident, Mr Akeem Oyebade, who also spoke, expressed disappointment at the way that the Lagos State Government has handled the road so far.
“Honestly, I am really disappointed by the government with the way they have handled the project. This road ought to have been completed long time ago, and I am not sure they are committed to completing it”, he said.
Meanwhile, residents of Igbe Laara/Gintin axis, have condemned the commencement of the road project from Igbogbo axis by HiTech on returning to the site. To them, the abandoned Afa bridge/Igbe Laara axis is more critical and deserving urgent attention.
They expressed their disappointment on the Ipakodo-Igbogbo-Asiwaju Bola Tinubu-Afa-Igbe Laara-Gintin Volunteers Group platform, where interventions of the chieftain of the Governance Advisory Council (GAC) and former Secretary to the State Government, Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Basorun, has not been able to pacify them.
The elder statesman took time to explain and confirmed that the HiTech has resumed to work on the road, while also adding that work is ongoing at the Igbogbo Stadium, to dispute assertions that the contractor is not yet back on site.
“The contractor, HITECH, has fully mobilized back to site. Let us exercise some patience”, Asiwaju Basorun said.
“Works are ongoing at the two sites not only because of the crusade, but because our State Government listened to our pleas. Let us be reasonable.
“Go there. Since they moved in two days ago, work is going on steadily on the road. I was there this afternoon (Thursday)”, Asiwaju Basorun added.
A resident, Ekundayo, speaking on the platform, disputed that the construction giant is back on the Igbogbo road project, and charged residents to continue to put pressure on the government.
“Odo lya-alaro link bridge at Maryland, started either last year or upper year, and it’s almost completed now even with pouring of heavy rains, work didn’t stop”, he said.
“Let stop deceiving ourselves, work has not started here in as much there’s no traces of HITECH personnel at Afa, that’s how they’ve been working to allow us relax on the pressure given to them .
“U guys should continue mounting pressure on govt on all social media. We should not beg or praise them, it’s our civil right to enjoy social amenities beacuse we are all tax payers, either directly or indirectly”, he charged.
Mr Oyayode, with WhatsApp name ‘Dr Stevelolala D Great’, another resident also speaking on the platform, stated that until HiTech return to complete the Afa bridge, work has not resumed on the site.
“This platform is apolitical for our update. Whatever government do for us on this road or other provision is our right and not privilege. For the benefit of doubt, I am a tax payer and I deserve to benefit from the government”, he said.
“Again, I resist this idea of HiTech at work on this road. I can only feel it if there is at least temporary measures to ameliorate our suffering at Afa. For those at Igbogbo/Oreyo, they can afford to say work have started, but for us at Igbe, it is a caged issue.
“Government of the day should remember that we are not fools and there would be another time that they would come begging. One thing is sure, even when they have finished the road, we shall never look back and pay homage anymore. ROAD FIXING IS OUR RIGHT AND NOT A PRIVILEDGE”, he added.
Another resident who also commented on the platform, said:
“This government cannot be trusted. Hitech can move their equipment to another place by tomorrow, again”, he said.
Easyarct, who also resides at Igbe Laara/Gintin axis, also charged residents to continue to advocate that the contractor returns to site to complete the road.
“We can’t exercise any patience until they come to make palliative at Afa, or else, they wouldn’t come there. They already know that it’s the place they can use to force the government to pay them. But if we continue to shout, they could be forced to come and complete the bridge first”, he said.
Attempts by our reporters to speak with staff of the construction company working on site, proved abortive, but of courtesy, they were directed to speak with the Engineer in charge of the road project, one Mr Ugbe, at the branch office at Olumo.
However, our reporters were turned back at the gate by the security men, after they disclosed their mission.