Many accidents have occurred on the Ero Omo Kilanko community road but that of July 15 is still fresh on the minds of residents of the area. It was night, and rains had flooded the newly constructed road.
Before the Toyota mini bus could manoeuvre to avoid the ravaging water on the road, the driver and two commuters on a motorcycle found themselves in a ditch.
“We had to rush them to the hospital that night. It was very unfortunate that two of them suffered permanent damages,” Abdulrasaq Quadri, a youth in the community recounted.
The accident was avoidable as the community recently benefited from a N50 million constituency project fund to construct a 4.5 kilometre road in 2017. The project was facilitated by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
The Accountant General of the Federation said at least 70 per cent of the funds was released for the project.
At the entrance of the road lies two signages, erected by two companies both laying claim to the project. RKK Inspire Limited and Royal Value Int’l Limited raised their signage almost side by side.
However, when a team from UDEME, an accountability project of the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, visited in September, work done on the road was found poorly executed.
The road which was said to have been ‘completed’ in March 2018 had no sign of new construction. Its light asphalt surface had been eroded in most areas and the contractor only tarred less than one kilometre of the five kilometre specification.
It would be hard to convince a newcomer that it is a new road. One of the youth in the community, who helped mobilise resources as part of community effort to make the road motorable, Abdulrasaq Quadri, lamented.
“It’s disappointing that government can do this kind of shabby job for us. See what they called road – no drainage, potholes scattered and rendered almost impassable.
“They didn’t tell us the nature of the project, we just woke up one day to see contractors start work on the road. When they started, we were happy and our people started dancing to show appreciation, little did we know the joy will be short-lived courtesy of poor execution. We wouldn’t have been optimistic if we had known government’s intervention will further complicate our lot as a community.”
Ero Omo Kilanko Road constructed in March
Many residents who spoke to the team said the road was better off without the shabby construction with the level of maintenance the community youth put into it.
Mr Quadri said the community had recorded expenses to the tune of N400, 000 in construction of bridges and drainages before the arrival of Mr Saraki’s intervention.
Another youth, who identified himself as Temitope said the contractor only poured asphalt on the road without making efforts to provide a drainage system.
“If they will do this road at all, they need to do the drainage first, water gushing out whenever there’s rainfall causes serious hazard. The one they did was just a one sided drainage.
“When we challenged the contractors, they complained the ministry only paid them for a one-side drainage. Even the drainage they constructed, they only used blocks and not concrete. If you trace the road down the street, you’ll see the bad road they did.”
The road has become a ‘headache’ for motorists who would prefer it be left the way it was before construction.
“Before they tarred this road, we cried to the government in the past to ensure the road is passable,” lamented Mr Bolaji Adebayo, a civil servant. “This road links to many places. Most times, when there’s traffic on the main road, people boycott the roundabout and ply this route to Ajase, Offa and others.
“I as a person who plies this road, when they did this road, we thought they haven’t completed the road, but we are surprised that less than two weeks, we started seeing potholes, the drainage was not properly done. As you can see, this road was done in March but instead of improvement, the state of the road has gone from bad to worse. The hardship we have faced recently is more than what it used to be before they touched it.”
On this day, he couldn’t drive as his car developed fault. He told the team he spends about N10, 000 more on maintenance of the car monthly. This cost, which he claims he incurred due to the bad condition of the road, is N7, 000 higher than before.