Commuters plying the Ikorodu-Shagamu road are losing sleep over the worsening state of the road, which is not only affecting their health, but also their livelihoods.
To many Nigerians, it has become distant memory that the 25km Shagamu-Ogijo-Mosinmi-Ikorodu Road was the first major highway that linked Lagos State, the commercial nerve of the nation, to other states and West Africa countries.
The road was constructed in 1962 by the Western Region government, before the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was built but today, the same road, which is an alternative route to Lagos, besides the busy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, remains a shadow of itself. The road is now littered with potholes and gullies, making residents and road users endure pain navigating through it, especially after any drop of rainfall.
Those who spoke with The Guardian described it as death trap saying: “The distance between Ita-oluwo to Ikorodu should not be more than 15 minutes but for the bad roads, one has to travel about one hour. On many occasions, we resort to taking motorcycle, thereby risking our lives in the midst of traffic jams mainly caused by the failed portions of the road.”
Nonso Chibuzo, is one of those motorists that has a share of the bitter tale experience on the road. He said: “I ply the Ikorodu-Ogijo road daily for daily upkeep but I usually spend the money I realise on repairing my Okada daily. We carry people for N250 during rush hour and N500 when it rains heavily. But when the rain falls, the road becomes almost impassable. I have fallen into the gutter before when I sustained some injury on the leg with the passenger I carried that day. If the road is fixed, it will ease our business for us.
He added that commuters usually complain bitterly about hike in fare but there is little we can do about that. The touts also have a fair share of the money we realise too. Pain relieve drugs is the only thing that help me sleep at night because of how bad the road is.
The road plays host to some federal and state institutions, which include the 174 Battalion Army Barracks, Lagos State Polytechnic, Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO), Lagos State Farm Estate, Lagos Waste to Wealth Fertilizer Company, Larfarge Cement Company, and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) among others.
Private companies like PZ Cussons, Monarch Steel, Super Engineering, Spintex Mill, Phoenix, amongst others are also located on the route, which explains the density of human and vehicular movement on the road.
Describing another portion of the road, which a commuter referred to as ‘the most dreadful part’, is the steep between Sawmill and Lagos State Polytechnic, a commercial bus driver, Adewole Ishola, said: “This portion of the road is known to be a death trap especially for heavy duty vehicles, which sometimes somersault to the roadside or abruptly stop while going up the hill. These vehicles sometimes reverse and collide with oncoming vehicles. We see accidents on this part of the road weekly; something must be done quickly to avert further loss of lives and goods”.