After the June 3, 2012 crash of the Dana Airlines-owned aircraft that killed 153 people in Iju, Lagos, the state government resolved to build a cenotaph in the memory of the victims. The contract for the construction, which also included the building of roads around the site, was awarded to construction luminaries, Arab Contractors. On the first anniversary of the crash, the arcade, which hosted a memorial service, had been completed. The road on Olaniyi Street, where the arcade is located, was tarred, just as the one on the adjacent Idowu Williams Street.
The construction gave the area a totally new look. At night, the cenotaph and surrounding streets are lit by power provided by generators. But that is as good as it gets. More than one year after the cenotaph was commissioned and over two years after the crash, the contractors have failed to complete the job on Kimbeghi Street, the major road linking the site from Toyin Area in Iju.
Work on the road started at the same time it began on the others. The contractors dug up the road, in apparent attempt to build drainage channels; moved concrete slabs to the site, built it less than halfway and did nothing afterwards. The road, the shortest route, to Iju/Agbado Road has become virtually impassable. In short, the road is a creditable imitation of a surface used for extreme sports. Residents have hoped that the contractors would return to finish the job, but nothing of the sort has happened almost two years since the construction began.
“I don’t know why the road has been abandoned. We are suffering. We have to go round and round to get to our house. I drive in through Oko-Oba and should get to my house from the railway line in less than a minute if the road had been completed. Even when no attempt was made to tar it, I still got to my house in three or four minutes. Now, I have to go through Idowu Williams to Toyin and come back to my street. That takes ten or more minutes if your are lucky that Toyin is not congested”, said a civil servant who doesn’t want to be named.
An auto technician, who has his workshop close to the site, made a similar complaint, saying the digging up of the road by Arab Contractors has made the road worse, especially when it rains. The technician, who identified himself as Yisa, also said a part of the road on Olaniyi Street constitutes danger to motorists and pedestrians. This is an allusion to where the road meets Akande Street. Because Olaniyi had to be filled before construction, it is considerably more elevated than Akande. The contractors ignored this and connected the road to Akande without reducing the sharpness of the gradient on the slope connecting the two streets. “Vehicles have lost control while ascending or descending. Thankfully, there isn’t yet an accident. We’ve gone close to witnessing accidents, but we haven’t experienced one yet. But if nothing is done, we will have one. Vehicluar traffic in the area has increased. Danfo drivers pass through. As you know, they are not the most careful. That is why I think a break failure or any other thing could cause troublr”, reckons Yetunde Omotosho, a video rental shop owner on Akande Street.
Also because of the slope towards Akande, rain flood from the tarred road, which residents say is usually very heavy, pours into Akande Street as well as Yetunde Babarinsa Street. The latter, a low-lying street, is untarred and has no drainage, putting fences and houses at risk. Alhaja Humuani Rodoye, a trader who has a shop at the base of the slope, told newsbreak.ng that residents have complained repeatedly about the threat of flood, got assurance that the dangerously elevated portion would be beaten down, but nothing has happened.