BUS STOP OF DEATH
These days, the popular Agric Bus Stop located a stone's throw from Ikorodu in Lagos has become a death trap. Within the last four weeks, about 13 people have been feared dead at the spot while several others sustained varying degrees of injury due to increasing rate of accidents on the road.
The bus stop, which is situated few metres away from the secretariat of the Ikorodu West Local Council Development Area (LCDA), is surrounded by about nine communities. These include Ojokoro, Ajagunro, Igbo-Olomu, Agbede, Ori-Okuta, Isawo, Oke-Oko, Oke-Tapa and Mawere.
Commercial motorists plying Ikorodu Road know that many commuters are always at the Agric Bus Stop and hardly would a commercial bus pass through the place without a passenger alighting. This has given the place a new nickname: Family Bus Stop. It is always crowded with people who spend many hours waiting for buses.
Daily Sun learnt that accidents occur at the bus stop about two to three times in a year and most of the tragedies occur as a result of the recklessness of truck drivers that ply the road on daily basis.
Mr. Francis Anyanwu is a cab driver operating on the Ikorodu-Majidun route. He said: 'Two weeks ago, a speeding trailer lost control at Oke-Oriya, but the reckless driver, instead of moving towards the roadside, headed toward the people waiting for buses at the bus stop, rammed into them and killed about eight people on the spot.'
Speaking on the recent carnage at the bus stop, the traditional ruler of Owutu community, Deacon Joseph Aluko, expressed concern over the numbers of lives that have been lost to these accidents. He blamed the unfortunate accidents on the carelessness of some drivers along the Ikorodu Road.
'It is sad that such carnage happened in this area. The road leading to Agric from Oke-Oriya is a slope. Therefore, you find vehicles sliding through the road, thereby causing grave damage to the people waiting for buses at the Agric Bus Stop.
'The Lagos State government responded to our cry on this problem about two years ago when a median was built to demarcate the dual road between Oke-Oriya and Ogolonto. This was done to reduce the traffic logjam at Agric and to check the unscrupulous drivers who drive across the pavement. But it's unfortunate that this problem continues,' the traditional ruler said.
Aluko appealed to the state government to build a bridge over the road between Oke-Oriya and Idiroko Bus Stop, so that vehicles can cross from one side to the other. He added that another bus stop should be built for people living in Agric. He was not happy that people usually stay by the roadside to wait for commercial buses at the bus stop.
Many concerned users of the Agric Bus Stop believe that tragedy could only be averted at the spot if the state government would construct a flyover at the place and build a proper bus stop at the spot.
Mrs Elizabeth Olanshile, a businesswoman living in Ojokoro area of Owutu told Daily Sun: 'It is sad that the Lagos State government is not doing enough to alleviate the suffering of residents of Agric in Ikorodu. The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) provided by the state government for this road makes no sense to me. The BRT buses face the same problem of traffic gridlock as well as the commercial buses and people pay the same fare from Ikorodu to Ketu/Mile 12.
'Those BRT buses that have alternative roads from Fadeyi to Mile 12 enjoy a rare privilege and people pay less fare. But we at Ikorodu are neglected. We want the Lagos State governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) to help us with a pedestrian bridge here in Agric.'
Mr Sulaimon Bello, an engineer, who stays at Asolo in Isawo, also gave an insight into the problem. According to him, 'Everyday people troop to the bus stop as early as possible in the morning in order to avoid the growing traffic problem which results in undue delays at the bus stop. But on getting there, you will marvel at the huge crowd of people already waiting at Agric, struggling to get buses to their various destinations. The alternative road is not passable during the rainy season.
'People are no longer safe to stay at the bus-stop for buses. It's like people there are waiting for death. We appeal to the state government to construct a bridge over the road like that of Mile 12 for heavily loaded trailers and other vehicles.
Alhaji Raheem Kolawole, a landlord and member of the Community Development Association (CDA) said: 'Everyday, particularly on week days, it is usually a terrible case. The effect of the trauma is evident on the amount we pay as fare. For instance, from Agric to Owode Onirin or Mile 12, we part with at least N100 on a normal day, but at times, we cough out N200. So, commercial bus drivers take advantage of the numbers of people waiting for buses at the bust stop to exploit us.
'Some of us who are landlords in this area have no alternative than to come home every day, whereas, others who work in Lagos stay away from the stress during the week days and come back home on Fridays.
'On Thursday May, 19, 2011, three people were killed and several others injured at Agric bus stop, when a trailer's braking system failed. There have been several others before and after that tragedy. All these are avoidable accidents, especially, if the road is passable,' he said.