This is the official blog of the Nigeria-based Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), a human rights organization which promotes, protects and projects the rights of Muslims. This group condemns terrorism and all acts of violence. Its motto is 'Dialogue, Not Violence'
Thursday, October 22, 2015
ALLOW WORK TO RESUME ON LAGOS-IBADAN EXPRESSWAY
22nd October, 2015,
ALLOW WORK TO RESUME ON
The Federal Government (FG) allegedly declared yesterday
that work could not continue on Lagos-Ibadan expressway due to financial
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) finds this statement
alarming and disappointing. Is FG aware of the strategic importance of this
road? This is the only road plied by millions of Nigerians going in and out of
Lagos. As the commercial hub of the nation, any disconnect between Lagos and
the rest of Nigeria tantamounts to economic strangulation of the whole country.
How do we transport goods to and fro Apapa Port if the only
access road is rendered unmotorable? Trailers who ferry these goods rely solely
on Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Unfortunately the road is in such a dilapidated
state that even the trailers fall by the roadside on a daily basis. Yet there
is no alternative since there is no reliable rail system yet.
The two companies (Julius Berger and the Chinese
Construction Company) which started the work have done very well so far. All
the parts of the road which they have refurbished are now very smooth and wide.
But the areas yet to be covered are full of bumps and they are now getting
worse by the day, particularly since the companies stopped working on them a
few months ago.
The bumps are an eyesore and driving there is hazardous.
Vehicles break down frequently on the rough surfaces while accidents are also
common there as drivers either run into ditches or collide with those behind
them as they attempt to avoid the bad portions of the road.
The bad spots have also been causing long vehicular queues thus turning a journey that should
not last longer than one hour to one that lasts five or six hours. This is not
good enough for our economy because Nigerians can do a lot for their country
during those hours of waste and pain.
Worse still, Nigeria has lost so many of its crème de la
crème to this road in the last seven years that only those who want to be
counting dead bodies in their hundreds and on a daily basis will deprive
Lagos-Ibadan expressway the necessary fund for refurbishing at this point in
time. We cannot afford the retention of a culture of waste. Furthermore, almost
all the spots where resurfacing was stopped by the two companies when the last
regime refused to pay them now dangle the sword of Damocles over the heads of
We are not oblivious of the fact that past regimes are to
blame for the negligence. The immediate past regime of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan
must have been responsible for the failure to pay the construction companies.
But today the buck stops at President Muhammadu Buhari’s table. Government is a
continuum. Buhari has inherited both the assets and the liabilities. Over to
you, Mr. President.
FG’s only excuse for suspending work on the road is
shortage of funds. We can understand this particularly in these days of
dwindling resources. But there must be a way out. FG can rearrange its
priorities or enter into an agreement with local or foreign partners who have
the required funds. The toll gates may come back as a way of recovering funds
and paying back the partners. But work must resume on Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)