Residents of Badagry in Lagos State have expressed their disappointments on the inability of the Federal Government to hasten the rehabilitation of the Gbaji-Apa-Owode highway, awarded at a cost of N4.366 billion.
The contract was awarded on June 13, 2018 by the Federal Government.
The highway is among 14 road projects, costing N185.2 billion, approved by the Federal Executive Council two years ago.
A cross-section of the residents told NAN on Wednesday in Badagry that the Gbaji-Apa-Owode road had become a death trap, wondering why work was slow on the highway.
Contract for the project was awarded to Smith Crown Nigeria Ltd., a Lagos-based firm.
A Badagry motorist, Mr Joseph Avoseh, who plies the road regularly, told NAN that since the contact was awarded, there had not been any significant work on the road.
“Yes, they have cleared both sides of the road and a few weeks ago, they started scraping the road from Joforo to Yeke, which is about 200m.
“But, this is nothing compared to the rate at which construction is progressing on the road from Agbara to Igbo Elerin and Agbara to Badagry, handled by other contractors.
“The Federal Government mobilised the contractors at the same time. We don’t know why the contractor handling our own road is not doing much,’’ said Avoseh.
The President of Hengo Badagry Youth Association, Mr Felix Godonu, said that residents of Badagry were elated when the Federal Government awarded the contract but that their enthusiasm had waned.
“There was jubilation from every quarter when the contractor moved to site because of the hardship encountered by commuters.
“But the contractor has spoilt the good portion of the road on moving to site and now the dusty atmosphere created by the scraped portion is causing cough and catarrh for everyone.
“Everybody, including students and market women have resorted to trekking. Civil servants with the Local Government Council are not spared. Commercial vehicles owners visit mechanics every other day.
“At present, the only mode of transportation along Owode-Apa-Gbaji highway is by commercial motorcycle because the road is not passable for motorists,’’ Godonu said.
Mrs Sewede Fanu, a staff of the Badagry West Local Council Development Area in Kankon, told newsmenthat going to work daily had become hell because of the bad road.
“For complete one year, the contractor did nothing on the project.
“It was when the minister of information was visiting Seme recently, due to the border closure that the contractors returned to site.
“Shop owners doing business along the road have been put on hold for several months because of the delay and slow pace of work on the road.
“The contractor, we learnt, has been mobilised but the reason for the delay is not known to us.’’
Fanu pleaded with the Federal Government to release funds for the road and ensure proper supervision to ensure quality work.
Another resident, Mr James Thomas, who operates commercial motorcycle, told newsmen that the project was going on but that the pace of work was annoyingly slow.
“The contractor does not seem to be ready for the job or perhaps, he doesn’t have the capacity to execute the contract.
“There are no equipment and earth-moving machines that one expects to see on site,’’ Thomas said.
Newsmen who monitored toured the construction site, observed that work was ongoing at the Gbaji section of the road.
A staff of Smith Crown Nigeria Ltd., who pleaded for anonymity told newsmen that the slow pace of work was due to a lack of funds.
He said that the company was mobilised by the government last December and that work had resumed at the site.
The worker pointed out, however, that execution of the project would depend on how government released funds for the work.