Transport Unions in Lagos State on Monday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to prioritise the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway rehabilitation project, following the passage of the 2016 Budget by the National Assembly.
The leadership of the Road Transport Employers’ Association (RTEAN) and the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the state made the pleas in Lagos.
Alhaji Musa Muhammed, the Chairman of RTEAN and his counterpart in the NURTW, Alhaji Tajudeen Agbede, said that the project remained important and should be given appropriate attention.
According to them, the project, which was started by the former President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration, should be completed to end carnage on the highway.
Muhammed said: “It is a pity that the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is still being delayed up till this time.
“The expectation of majority of us, especially the transport workers, is that by now, that road would have been completed for the safety of commuters, transport operators and other motorists.
“But as it is now, our major prayer is to see the road completed.”
The RTEAN boss urged the Federal Government to consider the economic importance of the corridor to the country.
He said, “they (the Federal Government) should please speed up work on that corridor now that the budget has been passed by the National Assembly.”
On whether some of the nation’s highways should be tolled or not, Muhammed said, “it is a welcome development if and only if the proceeds would be used to maintained those roads.
“Formerly, tolls were there but the large chunk of the proceeds went into private pockets because of the inadequate monitoring of the fund on the part of government.
“Government should ensure that the task is committed to honest hands.
Personally I will welcome a return to tolling.”
The RTEAN boss, who also urged the government to bring back road signs on highways, however, lamented the disregard of such signs and regulations by most motorists.
On his part, Agbede observed that the poor state of the highways had caused the loss of many lives.
“Many productive lives and property have been lost on our roads, while many of our members and other transport workers have also lost their means of livelihood.
“Now that the budget is passed, we expect that work should start in time on the Lagos/Ibadan expressway, to ensure its completion for the benefit of Nigerians,” the NURTW boss said.
According to him, it will go into history if the current administration completes the highway with high standard.
He said that the bad portions of the road also increased the security risks on the expressway.
Agbede, therefore, urged motorists on the road to desist from excessive speeding, overloading and dangerous overtaking on hills and bends.
The Lagos–Ibadan Expressway is a 127.6-kilometre-long expressway connecting Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State and Lagos State, the commercial centre of Nigeria. It is also the major route to the northern, southern and eastern parts of Nigeria.
The expressway is the oldest in Nigeria, commissioned in August 1978 during the Military era, under the administration of General Olusegun Obasanjo, as military Head of State.
This expressway is the busiest inter-state route in Nigeria and handles more than 250,000 vehicles daily and constitutes one of the largest road networks in Africa.
It is part of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) projects, concerned with road improvement and connectivity between the States of Nigeria.
The reconstruction of the expressway was flagged off on July 2013 by Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the Immediate-past President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to help reduce the travel time of hundreds of
thousands of commuters and international air passengers.
The contract was awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria and Reynolds Construction Company Ltd at a sum of 167 billion Naira.
Two sections of the expressway will be reconstructed and this includes Section I (Lagos to the Sagamu Interchange) and Section II (the Sagamu Interchange to Ibadan).