Motorists and commuters plying the Owo/Ifon-Benin road in Ondo State have raised the alarm over the deplorable condition of the federal road, as a portion of it has caved in, making passage through the route nearly impossible.
Residents of the area also lamented that the road has become a safe haven for criminals and kidnappers because of its dilapidated state.
The federal road, which serves as the fastest route between Ondo and Edo states; and as the gateway to the eastern part of the country, has remained in a deplorable condition for a long time and needs urgent repairs.
The Guardian learnt that the busy road caved in last Monday but there was no casualty. However, the development has been causing serious traffic jam on the road.
Some motorists and commuters, who spoke on the development, yesterday, described the current state of the road as a “national embarrassment” and “nightmare for road users.”
One of the motorists, Mrs. Doyin Orisamolade, said: “We don’t have government in Ondo State; we don’t have government in Nigeria. See, the condition of this road now. How much is it going to cost them to help us fix the road?
“To fix this small bridge is now a problem for Ondo and the Federal Government. Ore-Benin is not good and trucks have now damaged the only road we use to pass. We are appealing to both Ondo State and the Federal Government to come to our aid in order to fix this road.”
According to her, it was embarrassing and unfortunate that the Owo/Ifon-Benin road was left to deteriorate to that level. Similarly, another commuter, Mr. Toyin Maito, who also plies the road regularly, said: “The government says it wants to fight insecurity and when you have a road that is as bad as this one, how would you fight insecurity?
“When you stay at one point for a long time due to the bad road, hoodlums take the advantage to attack commuters. Police, FRSC and soldiers disturb us on this particular road, collecting illegal money from us and we don’t have means of survival except this driving. So, we are calling on government to help us fix the road.”
He added: “This is very unfortunate and frustrating. I also feel that the state and the local governments where the road passes can, in the meantime, provide some interventions by filling the bad portions with laterite so that our people can have peace on this road.
“I’m calling on our ‘Talk and Do’ Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, to use his privileged position as a matter of urgency to do something about the road because if you leave it like this, Ondo State will continue to sink money into tackling security challenges caused by this road.”
A commuter, Ibrahim Mohammed, described the road as a “deathtrap,” adding, “we are appealing to the Federal Government to fix the road for us. This road needs government attention.”
The Acting Federal Controller of Works, Ondo State Office, Olajide Hussein, however, told journalists that the government was aware of the state of the road, adding that remedial works on it would soon commence.
He said: “About three days ago, we had a massive failure of this carriage way. When we were called upon, we immediately swung into action in conjunction with FERMA to ease the flow of traffic. Now we have carried out a full assessment of the level of damage on the road and the permanent solution, which will soon be carried out to prevent such reoccurrence in future.”
Hussein, however, attributed the problem to the poor maintenance culture of the people, revealing that the heap of refuse on the road caused the damage.
“I will like to advise motorists, commuters to exercise caution and patience on the road. Besides, residents around here indiscriminately pour their refuse on the entrance of the carriage cover, which couldn’t allow water to flow. Residents of this area should be mindful of this,” he advised.