Who will save Ambode’s Lagos from falling containers?

“Can’t believe all that graffiti didn’t stop the trailer from falling. Foolish man, that governor,”

This was a reaction to the news that a trailer had fallen off the Ojuelegba bridge, crushing at least two vehicles.

The Lagos State Government is currently performing a renovation exercise on bridges across the state. In line with this new infrastructural project, it recently took this initiative to the Ojuelegba bridge. Under the bridge was decorated with different graffiti. One of the columns has been painted over with a picture of musician Wizkid, while some contain messages directed towards road users. As much as no one is against beautifying the bridges, one would think that the newly beautified bridge would be immune from this kind of occurrence – but the reverse is the case.

Graffiti at under bridge Ojuelegba Photo credit: Auto Josh

This is not an isolated incident, neither is it surprising to regular users of the road. A considerable portion of the highway is filled with trailers. These trailers line up the road from Fadeyi to Jibowu bridge, Ojuelegba bridge down to the National Stadium, Surulere, all the way to the Costain bridge, ending at Eko bridge causing untold hardship to commuters.

On Tuesday evening a trailer carrying plywood ascending the Ojuelegba bridge led to the death of at least two persons. Eyewitnesses said the accident killed several persons, but emergency workers put the death toll at two. They added that the driver of the trailer was impeded from moving freely by other articulated vehicles parked on the bridge. According to them, the driver was trying to navigate a narrow path to avoid colliding with other motorists and vehicles when the plywood fell off and crashed on a commercial bus and a private car.

The plywood that fell off the trailer and crushed both vehicles
The commercial bus crushed by the plywood that fell off the trailer
The private car crushed by the plywood that fell off the trailer

The General Manager of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Adesina Tiamiyu, who confirmed the incident said two bodies were recovered from the accident.

He said, “So far, we have recovered two dead bodies. Two people were critically injured and moved to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), while others sustained minor injuries and were treated at the scene.

“We are currently clearing the road. We have removed two vehicles and there were empty.”

This is not the first time a trailer or its container/contents will be falling off the bridge. In 2015, occupants of two vehicles were crushed to death when a similar situation occurred.

The trailers have soon become a mainstay in Lagos. They litter the road, their drivers urinate and defecate on the highway as some 0f them sleep in the vehicles day in, day out, so they relieve themselves anywhere they find themselves on the highway. These trailers do not only cause pain to road users due to the needless traffic their continuous stay on these bridges cause, they pose a serious threat to the state’s environment and infrastructure. These bridges were not built to house trucks this heavy for such long periods of time. The longer the government allows truck drivers operate with impunity, the weaker these bridges become and the shorter their lifespans. This lack of action is literally weakening our roads.

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode refusal to either act or even acknowledge the complaints of the citizens as regards this menace is worrying.

When these bridges were built decades ago they were meant to be used for the free flow of traffic and not for harbouring trucks and trailers. But these trailers have made these bridges their home, weakening their structure. Governor Ambode has done next to nothing to take these vehicles off the road. He has treated the situation with kids glove, leading to the avoidable death of Lagos residents. These trailers have occupied these bridges for over a year and see no reason why they should move since the government has failed in its responsibility to get them off the highway. Just like the state government’s Cleaner Lagos Initiative continues to remain an absolute mess, Ambode is showing yet again that he’s a terrible leader. He does not care for the plight of the average Lagosian but is rather more focused on his megacity project – a project which is being carried out without a human face. The state government forced residents of Otodo Gbame from their homes despite a court order staying the execution of the demolition, all in a bid to use the land for its megacity project,  killing some persons in the process.

Akinwunmi Ambode has written his name in clay as the worst governor to ever rule Lagos. His anti-people policies reek of sheer wickedness and a lack of emotions to the plight of the citizenry. Lagosians elected a governor, not a dictator, but Ambode is proving to be the latter.

Lagos residents need a lasting solution to the issue of falling trailers in the state, and Ambode must get this done without further ado.

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