Residents of Tokunbo and Ishola streets, off McEween Road, Yaba, in Lagos, are unhappy with the continuous closure of the roads two months after their construction was completed.
According to residents, who spoke with SaharaReprters on Wednesday, the roads were completed in August but the Lagos State Government blocked all entrances to the road to deter residents and motorists from using it, pending the commissioning by the state.
SaharaReporters found out that the roads are part of the 181 roads the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, promised to construct across all the 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) of the state.
Speaking about the continuous hardship faced by residents due to the closure, Johnson Shodipe, a resident of Tokunbo Street, expressed gratitude to the state government for renovat the road but the post-renovation closure as “unnecessary”.
“We were very happy when they came sometime in January to construct this road, but they have completed construction about two months ago and they still will not allow vehicles to pass," he said.
"We understand the stress we had to go through while the construction was going on, but what do we call this one? We heard they are keeping people away from the road until it's time to commission it. I think that is very unnecessary. If they are stopping people from using a small road like this one because of commissioning, what will they do when they build bridges? I don’t know but closing this road is inconveniencing people.”
Another resident, who simply identified herself as Alhaja, decried the inaccessibility of the road, stating: “This is Ishola Street, and as you can see, they have used those heavy concrete block and chains to stop vehicles from entering. Those with cars have to park very far way and trek to their houses. We have had issues where things were stolen from people’s cars because they parked in unsafe places."
Businesses on the streets too share in the undue difficulties caused by the blockage. Taiwo Okunuga, one of the engineers at a mechanic workshop along Tokunbo Road, said the closure had greatly impacted on the businesses that come into the workshop.
He said: “We were happy when they came to construct the road because we thought more vehicles would now come in for us, but since they finished the road, they have locked it, not allowing any vehicle to come in. Even people who have cars on the street have to park them elsewhere.
“Now, we meet our customers outside or go to their houses if their vehicles have serious issues and cannot move at all.”
Similarly, Promise Alashi, a worker at a hospital on Tokunbo Street, said the rate of patronage had reduced since the renovation started, but they were hopeful that things would improve once the work is completed. However, he lamented that two months after completion, the road was still barricaded.
He complained that patients had to park miles away from the hospital and trek or be carried by hands into the hospital.
A staff of a nursery and primary school on Ishola Street, who preferred not to be named, corroborated Promise’s complaint, saying parents had to park their cars miles away from the school and bring in their kids by trekking down to the school.
When SaharaReporters contacted the Lagos State Ministry of Works to know why the road was still inaccessible, the ministry declined to comment, stating that the road is under the control of the Yaba Local Government.
SaharaReporters also visited the local government for comments, but an official of the information unit and the director in-charge of the roads in the LG, whose full names were not disclosed, both refused to comment.
One of the staffers in the office said: “Oga said he cannot address the press until he gets clearance from the Chairman.”
A staffer at the information unit identified simply as Alhaja, threw her hands in the air to suggest there was nothing she could do until there is a clearance from the LCDA chairman, Kayode Omiyale.