Stakeholders and residents of communities around Berger area have called on the Federal Government to come to their aid and stop the contractor, Julius Berger, from going ahead with its plans to close a section of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, especially from Berger to the Ogun River beginning from Saturday.
The residents and other stakeholders claimed that the closure coming two days before the beginning of the 67th Annual Convention of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), which is slated for August 5 -11, will compound the traffic jam in the area.
A resident of Aseese Village, Mr. Ayo Lawal, said the closure would further compound the crisis that people face on the corridor.
He said in the last six months, the residents have had no “respite as they daily face traffic congestion of the worst type”.
He said closing the road during the period of the largest convocation of Christian faithful at the Redeemed Camp, which will hold for one week, will throw traffic on the corridor into a serious crisis. The Interdenominational religious gathering, which takes place every August, attracts between five to 10 million worshippers from across the world.
The RCCG has presence in 191 countries of the world, all of which often send delegates to the convention every year.
A travel advice signed by Route Commander Florence Okpe, which was released on Monday, quoted the Ogun State Sector Commander, Corps Commander Clement Oladele, as saying that the section of the road would be closed to traffic beginning from Saturday.
She, however, did not disclose the duration of the closure.
According to the statement, the travel advice was in line with Julius Berger’s notice of the “extension of the rehabilitation work on the expressway from around Berger area to Kara Bridge (otherwise known as Ogun River Bridge) around the Kara Cattle Market, a distance of 1.4 kilometres beginning from Saturday, August 3”.
The FRSC, therefore, advised motorists to plan their trips by allowing more time to their travel time in view of the construction, which would narrow the carriageway and impair traffic.
“The general public, especially motorists are advised to use alternative corridors like the Epe/Ajah – Ijebu – Ode; Lagos – Ota – Itori – Abeokuta, and Ikorodu – Sagamu to access Lagos.
When contacted, the Corps Commander in charge of Public Education of the Federal Road Safety Corps, (FRSC) Commander Bisi Kazeem said the closure was at the instance of Julius Berger Nigeria.
Responding to The nation’s requests via a Short Message Service, SMS, Kazeem said the closure is to enable the contractor to meet its work schedule.
Kazeem added that the closure would be on for three months, terminating on October 30.
His SMS reads: “It (the closure) is in JBN’s idea in their work schedule. They would have started since, but we kept urging them to postpone in view of last RCCG’s event. They said they must start now to maximise the time before the rains intensify and to enable them to meet the 2021 delivery timeline. If the rains permit, they would end the diversion by October 31.”