Home > Breaking > Igondo, Ajegunle Lead Communities in Lagos, Where People Still Use Wooden Bridges and Pay Tolls to Use Them

Igondo, Ajegunle Lead Communities in Lagos, Where People Still Use Wooden Bridges and Pay Tolls to Use Them

There are communities in Lagos State that are yet to benefit from government’s infrastructure development programmes. Such communities often take to self-help. They embark on road projects and build bridges to link communities. One of such projects is located in Lanre area of Igando. The wooden Omojowolo Bridge links Lanre in Igando to Ayobo area, both communities under Alimosho Local Government and is used by vehicles and pedestrians.

Some metres away from there is another wooden bridge, but constructed for pedestrians only. This is also linked to another section of Igando to Ayobo, though it is longer, but not as wide as the one in Lanre.

Another bridge is located at Boundary area and sited behind the Boundary Market in Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government. The bridge, which used to be wooden, is now iron, links the market to Liverpool Area, under Apapa Local Government. There is also a wooden bridge located in ECN bus stop, Ajegunle. The bridge is on Shogbesan lane of Ezeagu Street. These two bridges, located in Boundary and ECN, are for pedestrians.

In each of these locations, the people who constructed the bridges not only saw the failure of government in providing infrastructure for the citizens, they also noticed opportunities that could be tapped for both economic good and humanity sake. So, rather than lament the inability of government to construct a bridge, they decided to put up one, though not for free, as passersby had to pay a toll to use them.

Jumoke Hamzat has been living in Igando in the last eight years. According to her, the first day she needed to make use of the bridge, she was surprised, wondering why she had to pay a levy, when she was asked to. She was then informed that the bridge was built by a private person and not the government, who did not do it for charity, but as a business investment and needed to get back his money.

This, she said, made her not to have a choice, but to pay grudgingly that day and at any other time she had to make use of the bridge. She disclosed that many of the residents are not happy paying the fees. This, she said, was why on many occasions, during phone in programmes, especially on Bond FM, residents of the area call in to ask government to come to the aid of the community by constructing an alternative bridge.

Aisah Adejobi, a sales girl, lives in Igando, and daily walks through the bridge to easily link Ayobo, where she works. For her, paying the toll daily has been a lot of inconvenience because it eats deep into her paltry salary. According to her, her monthly take home pay as a sales girl is N6,000. And daily she pays N60, on the six times a week that she needed to be at her duty post.

Nextor Ahagu is a trader who lives in Ikotun, but daily use the Omojowolo Bridge to get to Ayobo, where his shop is located. Ahagu noted that those who constructed the bridges should be commended as commuting through the alternative routes are far more expensive.

According to him, if the bridge was not available then he would need to take a bus to Amule for N100, take another bus from there to Egbeda also at N100 before taking a bus to Ikotun, which also requires paying another N100. He said that apart from higher cost, it takes a longer time going through the alternative route.

Also speaking, Mrs. Tosin Olorunfemi said daily payment of the toll eats into her income too. She wondered why government had not intervened by constructing a modern bridge for the community. “We are not in a village that we are still using a wooden bridge of this nature to ferry people and vehicles across a swampy area. Government needs to do something about this.”

She however commended Road Link Ventures, the managers of the bridges for coming to their rescue. According to her, the bridge has helped to open up the area, allowing more persons to move into the community, which has promoted development.

She is concerned that the persons, who constructed the bridges had made enough money managing the bridges and rather than bring down the toll, it is being jerked up. She claimed the managers of the bridges realised not less than N150,000 daily from the levies paid by users.

A Keke Maruwa rider at Lanre Bus Stop, along the Egbeda-LASU Road, disclosed that each rider pays N800 daily to make use of the bridge. It was also learnt that a motorcycle rider pays N50 for each trip, while each passenger on the motorcycle pays N30 like any other pedestrian.

“Unfortunately, it is the other way round. Those who are in government enjoy the best comfort and convenience to the detriment of the people being governed. And I saw this and also noticed the suffering of the people in moving from this area to Jakande, Ejigbo and Ikotun. There was only one connecting link: this road through Oke-afa, and you need to experience the heavy traffic on this road and Oke-afa.”Pako-Bridge[1]

Several attempts to speak with the managers of the two bridges in Igando did not yield fruits. When The Guardian visited Road Link Ventures office, the secretary-cum-personal assistant to the company’s chairman asked that the reporter call back a day later to book a date with the chairman. For almost two weeks now, it has not been possible to interview the chairman as his PA kept giving one excuse or the other.

Credit: The Guardian

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