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Wanted: Urgent attention for failing roads in Lagos

Wanted: Urgent attention for failing roads in Lagos %Post Title
Isolo-Ejigbo -Ikotun Road, Lagos. Photo/ AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI









The demand, lately, by the Lagos State House of Assembly for urgent measures to address failing roads in the state is most timely, considering the sorry plight that people of Lagos State have been subjected to in recent times.

Many of the roads within the metropolis and across the neighborhoods in Lagos State are in critical condition of disrepair. The attendant negative impacts of poor state of roads on socio economic activities in the nation’s commercial nerve centre cannot be overemphasized.

The deplorable condition of the roads often at its peak in the wake of the rainy season therefore calls for urgent attention to ease the growing distress being experienced by motorists and commuters. Of particular importance is the formulation of a strategy to reverse frequent collapse of roads, due to a combination of factors including poor quality construction or repair; and lack of drainage facilities to ensure free flow of water.

Concerned by the appalling condition of the roads, the Lagos State House of Assembly, at a recent plenary called out officials of the Ministry of Works as well as the road maintenance agency and demanded urgent action by the relevant authorities. The lawmakers who addressed the issue under ‘Matter of Urgent Public Importance’, resolved to summon the Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry and officials of public works agency for further briefs. It is however imperative to emphasise that while personnel in charge of roads infrastructure and maintenance in Lagos State should be held to account, the government, as a matter of priority, should overhaul its road maintenance and rehabilitation strategies for a more effective performance. Beyond the urgency of remediation to bring immediate reliefs to road users, the Lagos State Government needs to fashion out a lasting solution to the perennial deterioration of roads soon after construction or rehabilitation.

While the Lagos lawmakers have oversight functions towards welfare of citizens in the state, the fact that they had to embark on an urgent plenary session to draw attention of relevant authorities in Lagos State to the parlous condition of roads in the various constituencies is a pointer to the seriousness of the road situation. The demand for a declaration of emergency by the legislators who constitute an arm of the government, no doubt, speaks to the depth of the sufferings by Lagos residents; particularly motorists and commuters.

There is no denying that Lagos State Government has the requisite resources and capacities to respond to the challenges and forestall reoccurrence of collapse of roads in the future. Government should be genuinely concerned that resources channelled into seasonal rehabilitation often go down the drain as most of the roads soon become badly damaged, neglected and if not inaccessible or impassable.

Therefore, the government must, as matter of urgency, prioritise prompt maintenance to prevent roads from deteriorating and sometimes degenerate into total collapse. There is a need to evolve a maintenance strategy that makes rapid response to deteriorating roads mandatory to prevent frequent collapse and permanent disrepair.

Isolo-Ejigbo -Ikotun Road, Lagos. Photo/ AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

should consider the demand for declaration of emergency by the Lagos State House of Assembly as a wake-up call. While it must be acknowledged that Lagos State government has demonstrated commitment to infrastructural development including construction of roads across the state, lack of maintenance appears to be undermining the laudable effort.

Motorable road networks in the metropolis and the hinterlands matched with top-notch maintenance is crucial to accomplishing the megacity agenda of Lagos State Government.  We consider the intervention of the State House of Assembly as an opportunity for the government to take urgent necessary steps to reduce the persistent agony of road users and ensure that relevant agencies are put on their toes. The ministry and agencies responsible for road infrastructure should undertake holistic assessments of the situation across the state with the ultimate goal of making adherence to quality construction and maintenance the watchword.

However, the local government administration should play a central role in ensuring that repairs are carried out on failing roads to prevent deterioration. Enhanced resources with proper supervision will enable the local government authorities to undertake repairs of roads within their localities as urgently as possible. It is unacceptable that most of the roads across the metropolis fail frequently and without the local government able to offer the much-needed remedy. The call by some of the legislators for public-private partnerships (PPP) in road maintenance should also be given the proper consideration if that would further boost the operation of the agency in charge of public works. The commitment to expansion of road networks by Lagos State Government is demonstration of the need to reduce the pressure exerted on existing roads by heavy vehicular movements occasioned by huge population.

Notwithstanding, the government should prioritise urgent maintenance of existing roads to prevent a situation whereby so many roads are in state of disrepair necessitating extensive rehabilitation that lead to menace of traffic congestions. Prompt and efficient road maintenance will not only ensure durability of roads but help to curb extensive budgetary allocation to fix collapsed roads as a result of neglect.

It is important to emphasise that the poor drainage system contributes significantly to the disrepair of roads in Lagos. It is therefore necessary to pay attention to the clearance of drainages to complement road maintenance effort. We call on Governor Sanwo-Olu to resuscitate and reinvigorate the Lagos Drain Duck initiative to ensure continuous attention to the clearing of drainages. It is also expedient to prioritise neighbourhood awareness to keep the drainage free of waste disposals which are common occurrences in Lagos. Local government authorities could play a substantial role in the effort to keep the drainage free of wastes which aggravate flooding that contribute significantly to widespread deterioration of roads in Lagos State.

•Editorial By Guardian Newspaper
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