The Ogun State government has directed Julius Berger Plc to suspend the ongoing reconstruction work on the busy Lagos-Ibadan expressway during the peak traffic hours.
The government stated that with effect from Monday, August 8, the construction company should not work on the highway from 6:00am to 10:00am and between 4:00pm and 10:00pm.
The government encouraged the contractor to work full blast between 10:00am and 4:00pm and also during the night after 10pm.
The State government also expressed deep concern about the hardship being faced by Nigerians who ply the busy expressway on account of the ongoing reconstruction.
A statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Taiwo Adeoluwa, stated that the measure had become necessary, as they observed that the already bad traffic situation on the expressway had been further compounded by the increasing spate of armed robberies reported along the road.
Ameliorate Disruption To Lives
The statement read: “The Ogun State government welcomes the ongoing reconstruction works in the full realisation of the fact that this will ultimately bring greater relief to our people.
“We however, note that the effort has come with temporary pain, in the nature of perennial traffic congestion and security challenges”.
“In the past few weeks, we took two steps. We increased Police and security patrols on that axis and opened up discussions with the Federal Controller of Works, Ogun State and the contractor.
“We suggested that they should consider working late evenings and overnight in order to ameliorate the disruption to the lives of commuters on the ever-busy expressway and Ogun residents. It is a thing of regret that our suggestion was spurned,” the statement added.
Redesigning Security Architecture
The government said it made the request based on experience and recalled that before the advent of the Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s administration, armed robberies occasioned by bad portions of the road; traffic congestion caused by unruly drivers driving against the flow of traffic and tanker drivers parking indiscriminately on the median were the order of the day.
“The public will recall that we confronted these challenges headlong. We set up a task force to checkmate the excesses of the trailer drivers so much that the Governor personally led regular enforcement teams on the expressway.
“We also invested heavily on redesigning the security architecture of the state by deploying Armoured Personnel Carriers, elite Quick Response Squad (QRS), Operation MESA and the state Traffic Enforcement and Compliance Agency (TRACE).
“We have also repeatedly intervened by undertaking major repair works on bad stretches of the road, not minding the fact that it is a Federal Government highway.
“Additionally, we took responsibility for clearing traffic, maintaining security and cleaning after the departure of our monthly religious visitors,” it stated.
The government expressed delight that its efforts ultimately restored relative sanity on the road and greatly reduced robbery incidents, but noted that that was until the recent intervention by Julius Berger.
It further explained that the objective of the directive was to mitigate the man-hour losses and socio-economic disruptions occasioned by the ongoing reconstruction work.
The Ogun State government assured the road users that it would continue to monitor the situation and proactively engage the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing and the contractors, with a view to fashioning a robust intervention that would address both the security and traffic situation on the road.
They also implored the people of the state to remain calm as they work round the clock to redress the inconveniences.