How businesses, residents pay price for Lagos’ bad roads
For almost two days (Monday to Tuesday), vehicular movement along Oke Afa-Isolo road in Ejigbo area of Lagos State was at a standstill, as a fuel tanker coming from the NNPC Ejigbo depot, upturned near the Oke-Afa Bridge.
The tanker, marked LSD 663 XB, was said to have been ascending the bridge when it fell at the bad portion of the road inward Pako Bus Stop at about 5:14pm on Monday, April 13.
Traffic flow abruptly came to a halt, as firefighters reportedly arrived the scene, while the content of the fell tanker was being trans-loaded into another tanker, forcing commuters and motorists to stay still till late in the night on the road.
The incident is one of several such recorded in Lagos, in the last one year, as a result of deplorable conditions of many of the city’s major and inner roads.
A couple of months ago, precisely October 2018, a similar incident occurred at Barracks Bus Stop, on the abandoned Lagos-Badagry Expressway. A loaded fuel tanker upturned while maneuvering through one of the worst portions of the expressway, and spilled its content, before exploding into flames. When the fire and hullabaloo that followed finally settled, two lives, seven private cars, including the fuel tanker had been consumed. A fully loaded tanker carries 33,000 liters of fuel and mostly paid for at depot at the price of N117 per litre.
The losses in human and material resources had to be recorded before the government, few days after, attempted to fill the collapsed portion that had been left unattended for several months, with dire traffic consequences on the Lagos-Badagry road.
The latest incident on Monday and Tuesday followed a similar pattern. The Oke Afa-Isolo road, linking Jakande Estate gate and Ejigbo LCDA secretariat, had been in a state of disrepair since last year.
On Sunday, May 12, BusinessDay, in a story titled “Bad roads: Communities await action on Ambode’s directive” alerted to tragic nature of the road. The story was an attempt to draw the attention of the government to the fact that more than one month after Governor Akinwunmi Ambode issued a directive in April, to the Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC) to fill potholes on identified 87 roads across the state, including the Oke Afa–Isolo road, little or nothing had been done.
The story had specifically identified the portion near Oke-Afa Bridge inward Pako Bus Stop, as requiring an urgent attention. A day after the story was published, Monday, April 13, a tanker fell. The following morning, Tuesday, April 14, a 14-seater bus manoeuvring through the tanker caught fire and was burnt beyond recognition with four persons escaping death by the whiskers.
According to a witness, the commercial bus (Danfo) carrying 14 passengers was ascending the bridge at Oke Afa at about 6:30am. Four occupants of the bus injured were rushed to the Isolo General Hospital for treatment.
The witness, who identified himself as financial expert, said he was driving a 2005 Toyota and closely following the burnt bus. The witness, whose car was slightly affected by smoke at the rear, said the bus driver was among those rushed to hospital. According to him, the bus’ exhaust pipe absorbed petrol from potholes into which petrol spilled on Monday evening where the tanker upturned.
An officer of the Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA) at the accident scene, confirmed that four of the bus occupants, including the driver, were rushed to the Isolo General Hospital. He said that the other occupants escaped with little or no injuries.
A health worker at the Isolo General Hospital told said on condition of anonymity that four of the accident victims were rushed to the hospital. He said that the driver of the bus and a female passenger were much affected by fire and had been referred to the Gbagada General Hospital while the remaining two, whose injuries were not severe, was being handled by the hospital,.
One of the victims, Chibueze Okafor, who was being treated at the Isolo General Hospital, said that the bus was going to Ikeja from Igando when the mishap occurred. He said that said that he jumped out through the window when the bus caught fire and had a cut on the head, which was being stitched.
SENIOR ANALYST - LABOUR/LAGOS STATE