Residents of Kubebu in Ijegun area of Lagos State have berated the state government over plan to construct a major road in the area where petroleum pipeline is buried.
Newsbreak had visited the community upon receipt of complaint about the poor state of roads in the area.
Our correspondent observed that the only tarred road in Ijegun is the one that leads to Ikotun from the area.
Joseph Adebayo, a resident of the community, alleged that a notorious landgrabber identified simply as Jelili, who recently became Baale of Ijedodo, a neighbouring community, bribed officials of the Lagos State Government to divert a major road project meant to be constructed through his community to their own area where there is petroleum pipeline.
Adebayo said Jelili sold lands meant for the road construction in the master plan of the area to Igbos, who have threatened to kill him if their houses are demolished.
The man, who disclosed that he became a landlord in Kubebu in 1982, said officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABSCA) came to their community to mark houses for demolition to create way for the said road construction, without considering the safety of the residents because of the pipeline.
The Kubebu resident, who is also a retired soldier, said the development forced the community to obtain a court order against the plan of the state government.
The community produced a large copy of the court order, which had which was strategically positioned at the entrance to the community and where the said pipeline is located.
“That was why a Lagos High Court issued an order, that there shouldn’t be any road construction on the pipeline road that leads to Ijedodo. We are still on the matter as we speak. From the roundabout, the original masterplan is that the road should pass through Leye to FESTAC, to Community, Iyana Oba and link Badagry expressway through Ijedodo. We showed everything to members of the Lagos State House of Assembly when they came here,” he said.
“But Jelili has sold all the land meant for the road construction to Igbos. He was made Baale about three months ago. Those Igbos have warned him that if any of their houses is demolished, they will kill him. They told him openly. Those Igbos have built big houses on the land where the road pass through.
“So, he used money to bribe officials of the Lagos State government. He said they should come to our side because houses here are not costly, and truly, they came. But the state government knows that in the masterplan of this area, there shouldn’t be any road here simply because of the pipeline.”
He added: “We’ll ensure no house is demolished here. May be the case in court is the reason they decided to leave our roads unattended to, but no house will be demolished here. Government should help us. Even if it is to grade the roads and fix them for us. There is no development in Ijegun because of the state of our roads.”
A businesswoman in the community, Olaide Olaseun, said the ‘poor masses’ living in the community have been the ones ensuring that the roads are a bit motorable.
She lamented that the poor state of roads in the community has adversely affected her business.
“It is always a pathetic situation when it rains. This is Ayinla street, the street adjacent to it is Awolumate. Okada and vehicles are managing to use the roads because of community effort. We had to grade the road on our own.
“When it rains, ‘Keke Napep’ that is tricycles, will fall and throw your goods on the road. People don’t want to come into the community to buy things because they don’t want their vehicles damaged.
“Normally, government should have come to our aid, instead, they came to mark the houses for demolition because they want to construct illegal road. That road was meant to be constructed through Ijedodo. Things are already difficult for us here, the government still want to put people through more misery,” she bemoaned.
Clement Nwankwo, a commercial motorcyclist operating in the community, said he and his colleagues change the spoke heads, brake shoes, chains and shock absorber of their automobiles every two weeks because of the state of the roads.
He described the plan by the state government to demolish houses to construct road where there is pipeline as “insensitive”.
“We spent a lot to fix our spoke heads, brake shoes and chains during the rainy season. There is no single tarred road through Ijegun to Ijedodo to Kubebu. Our income doesn’t cover expenses.
“The roads would’ve been totally unmotorable if not for community effort. And then the government came to mark houses for demolition to divert the construction of a road to where there is pipeline. Is that not insensitive?” he queried.
Chief Sulu Ayinla, a prominent political figure in Lagos State, who also lives in Ijegun, told our correspondent, that he was the one who drew the layout of the community many years ago.
He recalled that one of his houses was destroyed some years ago, when there was a pipeline explosion in the community.
“Yemi Osinbajo, Sanwo-Olu, Ambode and Olamilekan Yayi visited me recently. If the state government insists that the road should pass through here, I will ask Sanwo-Olu if he wants to totally destroy Ijegun,” he stated.
“The people proposing the idea of the road being diverted to the pipeline area are unfortunate people. I said so. I drew the layout of Ijegun. My forefathers established Ijegun. So, I can say something about this place. My own father brought the first secondary school to Ijegun.
“When the Lagos State House of Assembly members came here, they couldn’t come to see me because they knew what I would tell them. I don’t need their money. The road construction they want to divert to this area is a federal road. The road is meant to link the proposed 10-lane Badagry expressway.
“The bad roads in the community should be enough concern to the state and local governments. It is the responsibility of the local government,” he said.