Abiola Seun |
Economic activities along Lagos -Badagry expressway has been paralysed due to failed section and illegal checkpoints on the road.
The road which is a major road that leads to neighboring Benin Republic and other West African countries is riddled with pothole that a journey of 35 minutes from Agbara to Badagry now takes 3 hours.
A visit to the section of the road yesterday revealed that not less than 21 illegal checkpoints and numerous pot holes frustrate commerce along the Federal government road on a daily basis.
It was further observed that not fewer than 21 checkpoints manned by different security personnel are stationed on the Badagry express road, issuing numbers to commercial vehicles after collecting N300 per day.
Some of the checkpoints, mostly manned by men of the mobile unit of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) were seen issuing numbers to commercial motorists after collecting N100 each for morning, afternoon, and evening trips (N300 total).
A commercial driver who simply identified himself as Ahmed Tiamiyu lamented that the numbers being issued in the morning expires once it’s 12pm, and the numbers that are issued in the afternoon expires once it’s 5pm in the evening, with all attracting N100 each.
According to Ahmed, “In total, we pay N300 each per day to these illegal checkpoints to transit from Agbara to Seme.
“The checkpoints are aided by the numerous pot holes and craters that litter the highway. With these pot holes, you cannot drive at full speed. We drive slowly in order not to damage our vehicles, thereby playing into the hands of these illegal checkpoints.”
Further findings showed that most of the illegal checkpoints are not manned by any physical barriers. The security operatives just park their vehicles on the road side, and stand in vantage positions, flagging down vehicles already slowed down by the deplorable roads.
In the words of a trader, Aminatu Awonuga, “Agbara to Seme is now 3 hours. Before, I used to transit Agbara to Seme for just within an hour, but now, with the pot holes and craters, coupled with the illegal checkpoints that are constantly here, Agbara to Seme is now within 2 – 3 hours.”
Also, the Seme border Customs command also raised the alarm that the state of the road has affected the revenue profile of the command.
An officer who craved anonymity said transit cargoes now go through Idiroko border instead of Seme border because of the bad road.
He said, “No trade facilitation without infrastructure. The collapse of the road has affected our revenue and except something is done about it, it will be worse.”
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