3rd December, 2010
The old Abeokuta Road, between Agege and Abule-Egba, Lagos State, southwest Nigeria, is now a death trap for motorists. Vehicles and commercial motorcyclists plying the dual carriage road from Agege to Abule Egba are now at the mercy of that bad part of the highway.
Right in the middle of the road, in about five different places are deep manholes that could lead fatal accidents if a vehicle or motorcyclist hits them at top speed. The manholes are about seven feet deep and wide enough to swallow a motorcycle.
In the last one month, the covers of the manholes have been removed by unscrupulous Lagosians. Since then, there has been no respite from either the federal or the state government to do something about the problem, though the road belongs to the Federal Government.
The manholes were said to have been part of the Nigeria Telecommunications, NITEL, underground cables infrastructure.
P.M.METRO gathered that vandals removed the covers of the manholes to steal NITELâ€™s cables and left them open after being chased off by residents in the area. Since then, the manholes have been left open and have become agents of death.
A motorist plying that road at night for the first time can easily fall victim as a vehicle could summersault if it encounters the hole at top speed.Â Despite complaints by motorists, nothing has been done to salvage the situation.
The sad part of it is that there is no sign to warn motorists as they approach the manholes. Some residents in the area have been kind enough to put some used tyres near the manholes to warn motorists.
In another spot, a long pole sticks out of the manhole to warn motorists that there is danger on the road.Â In some of the holes nothing warns the unwary motorist.
A resident in the area, Mr. Emmanuel Olaniran told P.M.METRO that three commercial motorcyclists have died on the road in the last few weeks after plunging into the holes at night, at top speed.
He said that the lives of many people is being endangered because there is no sign warning motorists on the danger lurking in the middle of the road. He added that it was time the state government or the federal government did something about the dangerous situation.
The first open manhole is between a new generation bank and Vetland Grammar School on the Old Abeokuta Road, while the second one is in the front of a state primary school along the road.
A road user who craved anonymity appealed to the state government to cover the manholes to prevent further loss of lives as the holes could claim lives of unsuspecting motorists.
Last week, a private vehicle, in broad day light plunged into one of the holes, seriously damaging parts of the vehicle were damaged. The driver plunged into the hole during a traffic gridlock. It could have been fatal if the driver was speeding.
Also last week, a commercial bus fell into one of the holes at night. The driver was lucky that traffic was moving at snail speed.
A motorist, Mr. Audu who plies the road often warned that if something is not done on time, the Old Abeokuta Road would be dubbed a road of death, adding that government needs to cover up the manholes on time before more lives are lost.
According to him, the street lights on the roads are all dead, plunging the road into darkness at night and urged the government to replace the street lights.