Lagos-Ibadan Expressway: “We Must Save Ourselves”- Communities
Charged in the direction of ensuring safety of motorists plying the area, communities within the axis stretching from Warewa, Ogun State, to the Kara end of the Lagos Ibadan Expressway, have stood up to the occasion and taken the safety role to light up the axis.
The host communities comprising of Arepo, Warewa, Banku, Mokore and Arigbede, jointly took responsibility of the safety of the axis with plans to install streetlights on the Long Bridge to deter criminals.
According to them, the corridor has become a notorious black spot for traffic robberies and kidnappings over the years with many commuters falling victims. It was gathered that criminals usually hide under the bridge and strike mostly under the cover of the night when gridlock ensues or a vehicle breaks down.
A road user said, “I was an eyewitness. Robbers smashed people’s cars and robbed them of their valuables. They came from under the bridge in the middle of the Long Bridge. After robbing, they jumped under the Long Bridge. Security agencies need to comb the axis and flush them out, otherwise, it will continue.”
One of the coordinators of the project and President, Arepo Residential Community Development Association, Mr Bode Adefolu, said the streetlights would also assist security personnel patrolling the route.
He said, “We have had several robberies on the Long Bridge. People have been waylaid in traffic or when their vehicles broke down. What is even more disturbing in recent times is the fact that people are now being kidnapped and taken into the bushes around the bridge and ransoms paid.”
“We realised that it would be better if we light up the Long Bridge so that even from a distance, anybody can be of assistance in case of any attack by alerting the police. The police station is situated close to the bridge. It will also aid the team patrolling the long bridge.”
Adefolu said the communities planned to install industrial light at every 300-metre distance along the bridge, noting that they had kick-started the project with donations from individuals.
He stated, “The little we have done so far was through individual donations of domestic solar light that we attached to billboards along the bridge. It is just a kind of pilot scheme for people to see what we are trying to do. It has not even gone to a stretch of one kilometre and the illumination is just on one lane; it can’t extend to the other part of the bridge. We need enough funds to put in place appropriate industrial solar light.”
Reacting, in an interview with the Managing Director of Steerite Driving School, Mr. Akinfe Samuel, said that the lack of capacity of the government, it had become imperative for the everyone to take responsibility for their own safety.
“It is unfortunate that the government is overwhelmed with security issues in the country, neither has anything tangible done to indicate prioritization of the populace. As a duty of care or social responsibility which also has a direct benefit to the public, it has become necessary that everyone takes their destiny in their hands as those saddled with such responsibility trade blame on what is State and Federal roads,” he said.
He however said that, more than the installation of lights, other safety measures also needed to be tackled. According to him, “The cause of logjam must be addressed to aide free flow of traffic, and when traffic flows it will become difficult for hoodlums to perpetrate their criminal acts under the cover of darkness and security patrol should complement their gesture. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom,” the road safety expert said.