By: BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
Thousands of residents in Ogbomoso town on Wednesday protested the slow pace of work on the Ogbomosho-Oyo axis of the Ibadan-Oyo-Ogbomosho-Ilorin.
During the protest which was peaceful, the residents shut down the ever busy express road for a hours forcing some motorist to find their ways to the alternative routes while trucks and heavy-duty vehicles waited on the road till the end of the protest.
New Nigerian gathered that the protesters stormed the Takie Roundabout, Ogbomosho as early as 7am with placards having inscriptions such as “35 minutes Journey now 2 hours”, “Ogbomoso-Oyo road is our Boko Haram”, “Stop the killings fix our road”, “We are not animals, we deserve better roads”, “Complete the 18 years projects” among others.
The protesters while asking the Federal government to show concern for the lives of Nigerians by completing the road which according to them has turned a death trap for Nigerians plying the road, said travellers and other road users, particularly heavy truck and articulated vehicles had a terrible time after spending hours at the standstill.
In a press statement made available to newsmen during the protest signed by Reverend Israel Olaniyan (Head of Churches in Ogbomoso), Bishop Adebayo Akintola (Secretary, Head of Churches), Chairman, League of Imams and Alfas, Ogbomoso zone, Alhaji Imam Nafiu Abdulkareem Atanda and Mr Michael Abioye (Secretary, Egbe Omo Ogbomoso Parapo Agbaye), no fewer than 15 people lost their lives weekly thereby making it to be 780 annually while about 14,040 people so far died on the road in the last 18 years since the project was awarded.
The Ogbomosho Community Chairman, Dr. Isreal Olaniyan in an address said, “we deemed it fit to organize this peaceful rally to build on the press conference we held on June 11, 2018, to call on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola to our plight on the snail speed construction of the Ogbomosho-Oyo Express Road.”
“After the press conference in June, we have not stopped monitoring what is going on on the road. We did our research on the road. We found out the following, the Ogbomosho-Oyo Express Rad was awarded in 2010. It was a new Road meant to be completed in four years, but today, nine years after, it is 58 per cent completed. We appreciate the past leadership of our nation for awarding the construction of the Express Road,” he said.
Dr Olaniyan said “we are also grateful that the contract was awarded to a reputable construction firm. The present government has done well by not cancelling the project. We are also grateful to the incumbent government for using a part of the Sukkuk loan for a section of the road in 2017. We, however, found out that only 2.8billion is appropriated for the road in the current budget, which is grossly inadequate for the work.. Our plight is that the present Ogbomosho-Oyo Road has become a death trap. It kills more people than does HIV/AIDS or any other disease in this community.