By: BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The people of Ogbomoso in Oyo State on Monday raised the alarm of the incessant auto crash claiming no fewer than 14,040 lives so far on the ever busy Ogbomoso-Oyo road between year 2000 till date.
Addressing a joint press conference on behalf of residents and indigenes of Ogbomoso, Head of Churches in Ogbomoso Reverend Israel Olaniyan at the Soun Ogunlola Hall, Ogbomoso handed down a 21 days ultimatum to the Federal government within which to complete the abandoned road project.
Reading from a statement signed by Bishop Adebayo Akintola (Secretary, Head of Churches), Chairman, League of Imams and Alfas, Ogbomoso zone Alhaji Imam Nafiu Abdulkareem Atanda and Secretary, Egbe Omo Ogbomoso Parapo Agbaye Honourable Michael Abioye, Reverend Olaniyan said only this year, three school principals lost their lives on the road while fifteen students of Ladoke Akintola University (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso also lost their lives two weeks ago on the road.
“The construction of the dual carriage highway which started 18 years ago has left the Ilorin-Ogbomoso and Oyo-Ibadan portion in a particularly deplorable condition while the Ogbomoso-Oyo axis of the express road is yet to be started. The situation has left no option for commuters than to continue to use the old Ogbomoso-Oyo road which is a one lane road plied by vehicles of all sizes, going to and from the Northern Nigeria.” he said.
Reverend Olaniyan added that statistics at their disposal indicates that “an average of 15 persons die on the road per week. In a year, it indicates that an average of 780 persons is lost on this road. Multiplied by 18 years since the road was awarded, it shows that an average of 14, 040 persons have lost their lives on Ogbomoso-Oyo road. This is alarming and calls for urgent completion of the express road under construction.”
“This year, three secondary school Principals and one Account Officer lost their lives, just two weeks ago, 15 students of LAUTECH lost their lives. These have been a recurring decimal that must not be allowed to reoccur. An accidental death on the road has drastically cut short the life expectancy of persons living in this part of Nigeria”.
While appealing to the Federal Government to expedite action on the abandoned road, Reverend Olaniran urged the FG to declare a state of emergency on the Ogbomoso-Oyo road and ensure that the road is completed latest by August 1st this year.
“We indigenes and inhabitants of Ogbomosoland do hereby appeal to the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, to expedite action on the construction of the Ogbomoso-Oyo part of the Ibadan-Ilorin road. We appeal to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, His Excellency Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), to as a matter of urgency, declare a state of emergency on the Ogbomoso-Oyo road and ensure the road is completed by August 1st 2018”.
According to the people of Ogbomoso, “the completion of the new express dual carriage road will, apart from saving lives, aid in no small measure both transportation and economic activities across Nigeria, especially the North/Southwest bounded goods”.
In a peaceful protest, the residents later stormed the palace of Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi Ajagungbade where they were received by the Aare Ago of Ogbomosoland, Chief Samuel Sobaloju on behalf of the Soun.
Chief Sobaloju while receiving a copy of their letter, also joined them to call on the FG to come to the aid of the residents of the area.