Hundreds of residents and indigenes of Ogbomoso in Oyo State on Monday embarked on a peaceful procession to protest against the abandoned new Ogbomoso-Oyo road by the Federal Government.
The residents, who claimed that the Ogbomoso-Oyo portion of the old Ibadan-Ilorin road has claimed no fewer than fourteen thousand, forty (14,040) lives since year 2000, declared that the road has killed more people in the area than HIV/AIDS and Boko Haram.
The residents while calling on the Federal Government to expedite action and ensure that the Ogbomoso-Oyo portion of the new Ibadan-Ilorin road is completed before the 1st of August this year, urged the federal government to declare a state of emergency on the road until it is completed.
The residents made the demand in a statement signed by Reverend Israel Olaniyan (Head of Churches in Ogbomoso), Bishop Adebayo Akintola (Secretary, Head of Churches), Chairman, League of Imams and Alfas, Ogbomoso zone Alhaji Imam Nafiu Abdulkareem Atanda and Hon. Michael Abioye (Secretary, Egbe Omo Ogbomoso Parapo Agbaye).
They maintained that the old road, which they called death trap, has led to the death of many youths, women and other promising indigenes and non-indigenes of the town because the new road which suppose to be the solution has been abandoned by the federal government.
They added that about 15 people lost their lives weekly and that 780 people lost their lives in a year, adding that 14,040 people have died on the road in the last 18 years when the construction of the new Ibadan-Ilorin road started.
Olaniyan, while addressing a save our soul press conference at the Soun Ogunlola Hall, Ogbomoso on Monday, revealed that only this year, three school principals have lost their lives on the road while fifteen students of Ladoke Akintola University (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso also lost their lives two weeks ago on the road.
He said, “The construction of the dual carriage highway which started 18 years ago has left the Ilorin-Ogbomoso and Oyo-Ibadan portion in a particularly deplorable condition while the Ogbomoso-Oyo axis of the express road is yet to be started. The situation has left no option for commuters than to continue to use the old Ogbomoso-Oyo road which is a one lane road plied by vehicles of all sizes, going to and from the Northern Nigeria.
“Statistics at our disposal indicates that an average of 15 persons die on the road per week. In a year, it indicates that an average of 780 persons is lost on this road. Multiplied by 18 years since the road was awarded, it shows that an average of 14, 040 persons have lost their lives on Ogbomoso-Oyo road. This is alarming and calls for urgent completion of the express road under construction.
“This year, three secondary school Principals and one Account Officer lost their lives, just two weeks ago, 15 students of LAUTECH lost their lives.
“These have been a recurring decimal that must not be allowed to reoccur. An accidental death on the road has drastically cut short the life expectancy of persons living in this part of Nigeria.”
Olaniyan, while appealing to the federal government to expedite action on the abandoned road, urged it to declare a state of emergency on the Ogbomoso-Oyo road and ensure that the road is completed latest by August 1st this year.
He said, “We indigenes and inhabitants of Ogbomosoland do hereby appeal to the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, to expedite action on the construction of the Ogbomoso-Oyo part of the Ibadan-Ilorin road.
“We appeal to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, His Excellency Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), to as a matter of urgency, declare a state of emergency on the Ogbomoso-Oyo road and ensure the road is completed by August 1st 2018.
“The completion of the new express dual carriage road will, apart from saving lives, aid in no small measure both transportation and economic activities across Nigeria, especially the North/Southwest bounded goods”.
The residents, who later marched to the palace of Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi Ajagungbade 111, were received by the Aare Ago of Ogbomosoland, Chief Samuel Sobaloju on behalf of the monarch.
Sobaloju while receiving a copy of their letter, also joined them to call on the government to come to the aid of residents of the area.