Residents, motorists and commuters in Festac Town, the festival town in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos, have berated the chairman of the council, Engr. Valentine Buraimoh, over the deplorable state of the roads in the area that has caused them untold hardships every day.
Of major concern is the 2nd Avenue Road, a major gateway to the community which is bogged down by heavy traffic jams on a daily basis.
Though the council boss in a recent report claimed that the congestion was the barricade placed on 2nd Avenue Road by the Area E Police Command, residents however, believe that the gridlock is as a result of insensitivity and neglect of the major roads by the council boss especially in fixing the gaping potholes which have become more deplorable over the years due to lack of maintenance and also road diversion to educate motorists on alternative roots to decongest that root.
The Area E Command, like most other police stations in Lagos, had barricaded a lane on the access dualize road in front of their offices for fear of another possible attack by hoodlums who had hijacked the #EndSARS protests. Most recent attack on the Area E Command was by commercial motorcycle operators (Okada riders) who had violently protested and forcefully confronted the Lagos State environmental taskforce who came to enforce the law of Lagos State on restriction of commercial motorcycles from the Oshodi Apapa expressway.
One of the residents, Pastor Omotore Folorunsho, said: “Please, don’t allow anyone to deceive you, the barricade on the 2nd Avenue Road has nothing to do with the heavy traffic jam. If the roads were good, there would have been no traffic.
“All the alternative roads in Festac Town are terribly bad. You can come and investigate it yourself. We call on the Federal and State Government to open a panel of enquiry to investigate what the local government chairman has been doing with the Federal and State allocation with the internally generated revenue.
“All services are down in the local government. The health centers are in a state of disrepair. Many primary schools are also in a very bad shape. We used to have road sweepers by the previous administration but those days are history.
“The drainages are all blocked and the environment is totally very dirty. A typical example are the entrance gates to Festac Town. Go to the first , second and third gates, you will cry for Festac Town. All the Chairman of Amuwo Odofin Local Government does is collect the monthly allocation and loot the money. We call on EFCC to come and investigate this local government.
“For now, the action of the police is the best because if hoodlums are allowed to attack the police station, and loot the weapons, they would use the weapons they steal to attack residents and motorists of this local government.
“As far as I am concerned, we don’t have a local government council chairman.
“The council chairman, Engr. Buraimoh, has failed. What has he used all the allocations he has received so far to do? I can tell you, nothing! No meaningful development.”
Another resident, Femi Adeyinka, who has lived in the neighbourhood for over 30 years, said the roads have remained the same over 5 years, without any effort by the local government to improve them.
“For over five years now, the state of roads has been so deplorable especially in Festac Town. Residents find it hard to go out of their homes with ease. It is terrible during the raining season.
“If you go to other communities, you would find better roads and other infrastructures because residents have taken their faith into their own hands by repairing and constructing their roads with their own money without any help from the local government, but Festac Town is still in a very bad condition.
“At every available opportunity, we made appeals to the local government chairman Engr. Valentine Buraimoh, to fix all the bad roads but he refused to respond and when he tries to respond, he does so with bad road repair. We want the council to come and repair the roads using competent contractors,” he said.
Corroborating the residents, Adewumi Ogunsina, one of the councillors representing Ward K in the council, berated the council chairman, Engr. Valentine Buraimoh, stressing that he was only hiding under the cover as he has refused to address the real challenge confronting the people in the local government.
Hon. Ogunsina said: “Since Engr. Buruiamoh assumed office in 2017, the people of Amuwo Odofin Local government have continued to languish in pain because the council chairman doesn’t care about the people or the community but only on how to enrich himself.
“On the barricade on the 2nd Avenue Road, Engr. Buraimoh is only lying and using that as cover-up. Do you know that there are over six alternative roads that can take you away from that part of 2nd Avenue infront of the Area E command and Festac Police Station into and out of Festac town but people avoid those places because they are not motorable? The roads are so bad and the chairman has refused to fix them.
“Just last week, there was even an attempt by okada riders at 2nd Rainbow around the Jakande Low cost Housing Estate to burn down the Area E Police command and Festac Police Station, so what do you expect the police to do? Should they fold their hands and allow their command be looted and set on fire?
“The problem is not the police but the deplorable state of roads in the local government alongside the drainages which the council chairman has refused to desilt for a long time. Go and long at the drainages, you will see that they are all blocked.
“There are supervisors in the local government executive council, do you know that the chairman has not held the weekly executive meeting for over 10 months
“We have seven councillors in the council, do you know that the chairman doesn’t meet with us to discuss development of the area or even to get approval?
“It will shock you to know that the Chairman takes decisions alone and simply because I challenge his actions, he decided to side-line me totally and align with the other six as he spends the money of the local government at his own free will.
“He runs the council like his private company because he believes that he is untouchable.
“I once again appeal to the Lagos State House of Assembly to institute a panel of enquiry to investigate the criminality and maladministration in Amuwo Odofin Local Government,” he said.
Efforts to reach Engr. Buraimoh for his reactions to the development proved futile as calls and text messages placed to his mobile phone were not responded to as at press time.