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DEATH TRAP

Posted by By SEUN ADESIDA on 2008/04/23 | Views: 684 |

DEATH TRAP


The presence of tankers at Ibafo cannot be missed. They glare at you like monumental monsters, dotting both sides of the highway like mammoths lining up a narrow path. Initially, what immediately comes to mind is that you have mistakenly strayed into some newly constructed tankers’ park.

• Tankers constitute danger at Ibafo on Lagos–Ibadan expressway
• Ibafo construction site
• PHOTO: Sun News Publishing


The presence of tankers at Ibafo cannot be missed. They glare at you like monumental monsters, dotting both sides of the highway like mammoths lining up a narrow path. Initially, what immediately comes to mind is that you have mistakenly strayed into some newly constructed tankers’ park.

But then, you are jolted into reality as a slap of cold water does to a drowsy face. No, you haven’t veered into a park for tankers. You are still plying the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. It’s just that you are stuck at Ibafo, a community along the expressway, where tankers and their owners are the kings of the road.

At Ibafo, a community, in Obafemi Owode Local Government area of Ogun State, the fear of tankers is the beginning of wisdom. As soon as you move near the community ensconces somewhere between the Deeper Life Conference Centre and the Prayer City of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry on the expressway, you begin to notice the ubiquity of the tankers. They park awkwardly on both sides of the express road, apparently oblivious of other road users.
A major fear gnawing minds of other road users is that a little spark will, undoubtedly, set the whole place on a wild fire that might be fatal to hundreds of commuters as well as vehicles and buildings along the road.

Recently, residents of the area, as well as commuters on the busy Lagos-Ibadan expressway, heaved a sigh of relief that the tankers’ presence would soon become a thing of the past. Their optimism was not misplaced. Construction giants, Reynolds Construction Company, had just started work on the shoulder of the expressway with a view to expanding the road. Parts of the road that had become impassable were being repaired. In the process, the tankers were moved away.

The people’s hopes appear to have come too early, however. No sooner was the re-construction completed than the tankers moved back to their former position. This time, they returned in a more forceful fashion, turning the portions of the road just rebuilt into their permanent parking spaces. And even though the road is daily traversed by highly placed government officials from across the country, notably from Ogun State, the trailers and their owners appear to be above the law, as the authorities merely look the other way, leaving residents of the area as well as helpless commuters to silently mourn their fate.

“It beats my imagination that government officials go through this road,” says a frustrated member of the Ibafo Landlords Association, who doesn’t want his name in print. “Politicians, Ogun State officials and other dignitaries all ply this road and yet nobody has deemed it fit to call the bluff of the road marauders”. He described as pathetic the fact that the government is trying to widen the road so it could contain four vehicles at a go only for the tankers to frustrate such efforts by crowding the place in a bigger way.

According to him, the tankers refused to budge even when the contractors moved to site until law enforcement agents were brought in to effect the evacuation of abandoned trucks and the unyielding ones.

“But as you can see, they are back on the spot. The road is still under construction and they are parking on the portions yet to be resurfaced with coal tar.”
You might wonder why security men in the area are yet to flush out the unwanted guests from the nation’s busiest highway. According to some police officers in the area, who spoke with Daily Sun in confidence, the Ogun State government has never asked them to flush out the recalcitrant truck drivers.
“As soon as we get such a directive, none of the trucks will remain unless it actually breaks down or it’s involved in an accident”, he says.

But the truck drivers are not without their excuses too. They complain that government should provide them with a place to park their trucks. Reminded that a truck park constructed by Ogun State government actually exists at Ogere with a second park near Ibafo, the man feigns ignorance of the existence of such parks.

Many a time a number of trucks will break down in the middle of the expressway. And since both sides of the highway are usually littered with both functional and non-functional trucks and tankers, meandering through the usually heavy traffic becomes a hard task for vehicles plying the road.
As the rainy season approaches, the fear of people plying the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, especially Ibafo residents, is that their plight might become worse. And such fears are certainly not misplaced.

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Comments (6)

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Joel Efiong(Calabar, Nigeria)says...

This is a great piece. The examination bodies should hire you as ICT consultant.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

ULIMASI means' GOD,THANK YOU' not THANK GOD.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

The name ULIMASI is from the UTUGWANG tribe in OBUDU local government area of CROSS RIVER STATE in Nigeria.

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding