Thousands of Badagry residents and some tertiary institution students, yesterday, defied a heavy rainfall to protest the deplorable state of the Lagos/Badagry Expressway.
They described the road as one of anguish and pain.
They stormed the roundabout with placards bearing various inscriptions such as: “Fix Lagos/Badagry Expressway. Our businesses are dying;” “Bad Road, Our pregnant women are having miscarriages;” “We are not at war, remove checkpoints on our road;” and “We are losing man hours.’’
President, Women Arise Initiative, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, who led the protest, said the road has become a route of anguish and pain.
“We are in the rain today (yesterday) not because we like it, but because we want to make some demands; we are moving from Badagry to Mile 2. We are here because the Lagos/Badagry express road has continued to serve as a route of anguish and pain; the state of the road is deplorable. We are seeing our economy ruined, we have seen women having still births; We have seen our road becoming a road to the hospital and the mortuary, the time has come for us to rise up in unity.
“Time has come for us to demand that government should fix the Lagos/Badagry road. We are here to demand that the road that leads to the economic hub of the ECOWAS sub-region be fixed.
“We have endured this for a very long time, and, tourism in Badagry is now at its lowest ebb.
Also, Chairman, Gunuvi Rights Initiative of Nigeria (GRIN), Comrade Bokoh Oluwole, said they were protesting because of the bad state of the road.
“This is the first major international road in Nigeria, and the road is Trunk A. It is an international route, an international haulage route. This road serves industrial hubs, and government generates a lot of income from the route.’’
“Those who go to Lagos to buy goods from Badagry now find it difficult to transport their wares without incurring losses. “How long shall we continue to suffer like this, while the government pretends as if all is well? We just can’t continue like this,’’ he said.
The protesters marched to Ijanikin, where they were joined by students of the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Ijanikin, while students of Lagos State University (LASU) also joined at the Igbo-Elerin junction.
The expressway was locked down by the protest, which lasted for over two hours.
The Lagos/Badagry Expressway is the local name for the Nigerian section of the Trans-West African Coastal Highway which connects Lagos, Nigeria with Dakar, Senegal.
Extensive reconstruction of the Lagos portion of the 61 kilometre, 10-lane expressway began in 2010, but lingering funding problems have compelled the contractors, the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC), to stop work.
The angry residents have given government a minimum of 100 days to find a solution to the dilapidated highway, and stated that failure to do so will lead to a roadblock.
Last week, many were trapped on the road after a downpour.
A similar protest held on the highway, between October 30 and 31, 2018.