The state of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway has become a bothersome issue for citizens who ply the road on a daily basis. The road which has been totally neglected for years by both the Federal and State Governments has been a huge hindrance to business activities and commuters along the route whilst it has been a notable death trap for lives and properties as several tankers have exploded on the road while pot holes have swallowed several vehicles.
The Lagos-Badagry Expressway is the local name for the Nigerian section of the Trans-West African Coastal Highway which connects Lagos, Nigeria with Dakar, Senegal. A crucial road that should be prioritize for cross-border trade facilitation but the road infrastructure has been ridiculed and abandoned to a state where its planned reconstruction needed a show-biz flag-off ceremony by the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Sanwo-Olu Babajide last week.
Last week, the media was awash with reports of extensive reconstruction of the Lagos portion of the 61-kilometre, 10-lane expressway began in 2010, but the truth is that stones and sand were merely used to fill-up some portions of the Barracks bus stop region. The reports that the road have become safe haven for commuters is a far cry from reality.
The lingering funding problems compelled the contractors, the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC), to stop work. The state of the road has become such that the time taken to cover the distance from Mile 2- Badagry was equivalent to the time-taken to cover the distance from Enugu to Lagos.
The expressway which began under the government of former Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has so far gulped N460 billion without much to show for the huge expenditure.
It should be recalled that the notion to expand the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, a major gateway connecting Nigeria and other neighbouring West African countries was conceptualized in 2009 by Fashola’s administration to ease traffic in the region and upgrade the infrastructure from four lane into ten lane dual carriage.
Tourist activities have reduced as a result of the deplorable state of the road and international tourists would perhaps believe the stories heard about Nigeria when they visit.
The rainy season has also created more pot holes on the road, leading to an increase in the cost of transportation for citizens who have no alternative route to pass through.
Speaking to MMS Plus, one of the drivers who plies the route frequently lamented that the state of the road had caused unquantifiable damages to cars and buses.
According to him, the transport fare had consequently increased so that drivers in the area will be able to set aside money for the maintenance and repairs of their vehicles.
“It is not our fault, the passengers should also consider us. If we charge the same amount we used to charge before, then what will be our own gain? We repair our cars on a daily basis as a result of the road and sometimes we are scared to take our vehicles out” he said.
The typical Nigerian system is starting a project without completing ; this coupled with the fact that most media houses are already reporting commencement of work when barely patches have been made have forced many citizens resort prayers that the governor would fulfill his promise.
The Lagos state government needs to ensure that the road is completed because of the location of the road links Nigeria to other West African countries. The road could be abandoned again, more citizens may suffer grievous losses but the nation should tilt away from this shameful reputation and Sanwo-Olu should show that he is a man of his excellence and credibility by getting this job done.