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Egan: The cry of a neglected community


TAKING a drive downtown Victoria Island of Lagos State regarded as the centre of excellence is a journey that showcases a government working for its citizens; state of the art street lights, well constructed roads, orderly flow of traffic and if you happen to behold the skyline of Marina at night, it will no doubt make a good picture for a post card.

But for residents of Igan Community in Alimosho Local Government Area, the popular Lagos State government's slogan, “Eko O Ni Baje,” literally meaning: “Lagos will never rust away,” does not excite them; it infuriates them to an extent of asking if they are really a part of the area.

National Daily recently visited some parts of in Igando and feelings among the populace is that they do not come near being second class citizens of a state they pay tax.

Moving in through the Police station located at the entrance to Egan community in Igando, dilapidated roads that evidently have never felt the coal tar on them stares at your face. Passing through Atakan Street which interjects with Medina road is worse off. Olisa Street serves as one of the entrance into the community but appears more like a scene recreated by years of abandonment that not even the ever rugged commercial motorcyclists, otherwise known as Okada, can move through the rough and jagged terrain; the road is simply impassable.

At Olisa Street, National Daily met a resident, Mr. Adepitan Jimoh, who claims he has been living in the area for 21 years, saying, “he can only remember one road being tarred in the over two decades  of his residency in the suburb.”

“This is my 21 years living in this area. This very street is the first street that government tarred and that is all that has been done for us over the years; that it is about 12 years ago. This street became spoilt like five years ago because of the heavy traffic and the fact that the street is old. For close to three months now, no vehicle has used it to show you the extent of damage. It has affected us users,” he complained.

Skeletons of the remains of the once tarred road on the street is a subtle reminder that the government once had them in mind, but at the moment, despite their surety of where their votes were cast, optimism is what they hold on to.

“We don't feel good about the under-development in our community and in this area, we know who we voted for, we voted for ACN and Fashola quite alright. We have been hearing that he will work in all Alimosho but we have not yet seen the development especially on roads here yet,” Jimoh said.

Going further down Olasalami Street through, which leads to the once popular Ife Bust Stop, shows roads that can best be described as an eye sore. Not only have the roads caved in with gullies forming at different intersections, the stagnated condition caused by the rains oozes out foul smelling odours and helps in breeding mosquitoes, a development the women complained of heavily   with special concerns about the health of their children.

“We are suffering here, the bad roads breed mosquitoes which increase the risk of our children contracting Malaria fever. The bad road also makes it difficult for refuge disposal. We pay our levy and tax and should not be subjected to this living standards,” a lady, who identified herself as, Mrs. Awoshile ranted.

National Daily inquiries revealed that the major hitch affecting living conditions in the area is the bad roads.For instance, getting to the destinations to collect refuse carefully packed by the residents is herculean for agents of LAWMA, the state government refuse disposal agency.

Increasing security concerns make it difficult for the police to respond to distress calls made to them.

“There is epileptic or no electricity, we do not have running water and criminal activities is on the increase because when you call the Police, it takes them time to arrive and we don't blame them. We just have to make do with local vigilante services here at Egan,” Alhaji Yusuf, who said he was the former chairman of the Community Development Association (CDA).

While many are still appealing to the state government to come over to Egan and help them, a group made up of community leaders said they might stop paying their taxes to attract if it will attract the attention of the state government.

“We pay our land use act tax every year as when due. We have been patiently waiting but with the way we are been treated, we will decide not to pay our taxes again. For the whole of Egan there is no road you can point to that is motorable, our vehicles are spoilt. All the roads are dilapidated, Modina road, Shittu road, Agric road., not one is good and we have a government that says Lagos will not spoil; Egan roads have spoilt and we need to be treated as citizens and Lagosians,” said Alhaji Busari Azzez, a former official in the local CDA.

To another member, who identified himself as Olaiya, four years were enough for the government to have at least done something for the community instead of the concentration placed on priority highbrow areas like Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lekki Penusula.

“For four years, no government presence has been felt, it is only Agric road that gets to benefit sometime ago but the road is bad now. We know the chairman. The chairman and councillors don't do the roads. I pay my tax but they use our taxes to build Lagos Island roads and other highbrow areas. It is sad. The July 10th  flood was a disaster here. We voted for Fashola and want him to give us our votes' worth in development. He promised  us that he will build the roads in Alimosho but we have not seen it, we are begging him to come over to Igandu and help us,” he lamented.

At Isuti road which used to be an express way, there is erosion threat already eating away the earth on the road.   At Agric road, it was another sore sight as  pedestrians especially children had to make calculations on where next to place a foot to prevent falling into muddy earth deposited from the gullies on the road.

Sadly, Agric road plays a very important past in connecting Ayobo and Ipaja if a bridge should be constructed there,  but the reality is a wooden pedestrian bridge that users have to part with as much as N200 to Area Boys who take the credit of constructing the bridge and therefore had a responsibility of maintaining it by collecting tolls.

“We have made complaints and have written so many letters, when I was chairman of the CDA, I wrote to the Lagos Govt and somebody was sent to us and we went round the whole communities with the govt agent but after that nothing happens. They will interview us, take pictures but at the end, after so many years, we have not seen any action. We are begging and appealing to come to our aid,” Alhaji Yusuf pleaded.

As the local council polls was held last weekend, more letters and complaints will be directed to the Chairman who many prays should have more action than words that the Egan community have been used to for years. Their one appeal to both the  Lagos State governor and the in-coming chairman is to bring the  much needed development within the shortest possible time.

“We are highly populated and we are requiring the attention of our governor and the chairman to come to our aid. It is not fair, we are Lagosians as well,” Jimoh points out.

Should their appeal fall on deaf ears then they will continue feeling lesser than residents and citizens of Lagos State but will always let the world know that their conditions are contrary to the popular song, “Eko O Ni Baje” in a land regarded as the Centre of Excellence.

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