20th December, 2010
For decades, 10 rural communities, abutting the ocean in Lekki area of Lagos State, southwest Nigeria, have no access road to the main city.Â To access the Lekki-Epe Expressway, the villagers have to either use a canoe or a motorcycle to ply a bush path of about 5.5km. Many of them resort to trekking the long distance.
Several promises made to them by successive governments to link them up with the expressway has remained just that: promises.
Such was the plight of these communities that even the youths in the area have migrated to the city to seek greener pastures since there are no social amenities to cater to their needs. Worst still, the villages have no electricity because they live in a difficult terrain not easily accessible by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria.
Succour, however, came their way when the Lagos State government, through the Ministry of Rural Development, decided to construct a 5.5km road that will link Awoyaya and Iwerekun and adjoining villages.
Construction work is ongoing and the drainage channel of about three kilometres has been completed.Â On completion, the cost of properties in the area will certainly go up as many Lagosians have started buying land in the area to build.
Commissioner for Rural Development, Prince Lanre Balogun who led a team from the ministry on a tour of ongoing rural projects in Lekki and Epe areas told P.M.METRO that work on the road would be completed in June 2011.
â€œAt the beginning of 2010, our priority was to provide accessible roads to some selected communities in Lagos State. Awoyaya is one of such communities. The road is about 5.5km in length and has a width of 8m.Â The road will link about 10 villages abutting the Atlantic Ocean .
â€œThe state government approved the construction of the road because of its determination. Our problem has been scarcity of funds; we have only been able to access 30 per cent of the money for the road. By the beginning of next year, we will be able to access more fund for the road and by June, we will complete work on the road.
â€œThe terrain is one that does not allow accessibility but we plan to give them a first class road. Because of the difficult terrain, we have to cross five tributaries to get here. The people living around here are between 50,000 to 200,000. This road will not be abandoned,â€ he stated.
A community leader at Iwerekun Village, Alhaji Jimoh Lawal said the villagers have been so happy since the state government began the construction of the road, adding that they would give their support to ensure that the present administration continued in office beyond next year.
Mrs Shakirat Nosiru, a women leader in the village added that the state government had done very well by extending the gesture to the village and promised to support the government.
Another rural road being constructed in Lekki area is the Igbogun Road. The road is about 8.1km. It will serve remote villages cut off from civilization in Lekki area of the state.
The engineer overseeing the construction of the road, Mr. Oduyemi Oladeinde, a Deputy Director in the Civil Engineering Department of Ministry of Rural Development said the road would be provided with kerbs, and laterite before it is asphalted. He added that the construction of the road had been slow because of scarcity of funds.
Baale of Igbogun Village, Jimoh Salami, commended the state government for the ongoing works but pleaded with government that the village needed electricity urgently in order to enhance development in the area.
In Epe, a solar powered heater was provided at Oke Ogunbale Village. The solar heater is a new innovation in Nigeria. The solar powered heater provides the villagers 24 hours of hot water, apart from having street-lights powered by solar.
According to the commissioner, Balogun, the innovation was a clear policy of the state government to deliver dividends of democracy to rural communities.
â€œThis solar heater is not connected to electricity; it is a means of promoting climate change and it is comparable to what we have in the United States. Just recently, President Obama made a policy that he would allow the use of solar powered heater in the White House.
â€œImagine the firewood the villagers will burn to get hot water. This project, when maintained, will last for 20 years. We have 119 rural communities where this kind of project will be provided. This community is part of the first phase of the project,â€ he stated.
The Community Development Association, CDA, chairman of the village, Mr. Segun Ashafa commended the government for the innovation but pleaded that the village would need electricity from the PHCN, while the Baale of the village, Monsuru Alausa echoed the same thing.
Other rural project inspected were the promotion of aquaculture at Epe Grammar School, where the students are being taught how to raise fishes in nursery. Modified Type â€˜Aâ€™ water schemes were also provided at Odogbawoju.
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