If the information we have is anything to go by, then residents of Gbagada must be the most endangered persons in Lagos State. Residents told InsideMainland that no fewer than three persons die while attempting to cross the Anthony-Gbagada Expressway every 72 hours. This is because those living at the Gbagada, Oworonshoki and Pedro end of the Apapa-Gbagada Expressway risk their lives daily crossing the over-busy 8-lane road without the benefits of a pedestrian bridge.
“Since the construction company (Julius Berger) completed the expressway around 30 years ago, there have been regular deaths in that axis because there is no pedestrian bridge for residents to use,” Kabiawu Babajide, the Patriarch and Secretary to the Council of Oworonshoki Youth Forum (COYF) told InsideMainland. Most of the deaths have occurred during the morning and evening rush hours, when hundreds of speeding vehicles besiege the roads, whilst thousands of residents, heading to or retiring from work, have to weave past the vehicles to reach their destinations.
“If you take a closer look to that area, you would realise that apart from the foot bridge at Pedro, there is no other one until you get closer to Newcastle Hotel at Anthony. Between the two bus stops, we a distance of about 2 kilometers with the Gbagada General Hospital, Lagos State Vehicle Inspection Office, Mafowoku bus stop, Mobil Filling Station, Ikeja Electric office, churches, secondary and primary schools all covered in that area. These people do not have a pedestrian bridge to access parts of the community and only resort to crossing the expressway due to the distance to get to the places where pedestrian bridges are built”, Kabiawu revealed.
“The numbers of residents crossing the expressway is so high. It is a gory sight to behold for anyone who witness the continuous accident and loss of lives of citizens in search of daily bread in that axis. We have written to the State Government and also had meeting on different occasions. The government promised to look into the issue through the Ministry of Works for the next steps to take”, he added.
While appealing to the Akinwunmi Ambode led administration for urgent attention, a resident who identified herself simply as Mrs. Okoro said “accidents happen at the Mobil end of the expressway every day. Some get media attention while some others do not.”
The visibly angry woman added that “we have made complaints to the Kosofe Local Government and the Lagos State Government in the past but nothing came out of it. Must we all lose our lives before we get government attention? There was a time a pregnant woman who left the Gbagada General Hospital was ran over by a speeding vehicle while trying to cross the express.”
On the part of the government, the officials from the Ministry of Works visited the area on Tuesday 10, January 2016 to discuss with residents on a way forward. During the visit, InsideMainland learnt that the officials conducted the survey, area mappings as well as the soil texture to ensure proper planning.
Speaking on this, Kabiawu said “we joined the officers of the Ministry there during their visit. The residents at first prevented the officers from working due to the bottled-up anger. We however pleaded for peace and the process was a success.”
He further added that “we expect the government will at on the report with immediate effect to address the number of lives lost daily on that axis.”