By Ambrose Nnaji
Lagos Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako, has condemned vandalism of newly installed highway wire mesh panels in some parts of the state.
Salako told The Nation some of the highway wire mesh panels around Adekunle towards the Third Mainland Bridge Ramp and Oko Baba areas had been vandalised.
The commissioner blamed saw millers at Oko Baba for the vandalism of the fence.
Salako said his ministry was planning an immediate sensitisation exercise for the saw millers who used Third Mainland Bridge Adekule Ramp as loading point for wood and timber.
According to him, the saw millers used those areas as transit to load on the bridge and in so doing damaged the wire mesh panels.
He also added an existing overhead bridge designed for a different purpose was being used by saw millers across the Adekunle Ramp on Third Mainland Bridge as bus stop, adding it’s risky and illegal.
The Commissioner disclosed the new highway fence were made from iron for durability and served the purpose of safety and to beautify the environment.
The Nation reporter, who visited the area, reports the highway wire mesh panels were installed around Adekunle Ramp linking Third Mainland Bride and Oko Baba.
The wire mesh panels have reflective lightening materials which glow at night, indicating the boundaries of the roads.
“We chose the strong iron highway wire mesh panels because they are durable.
‘’We also considered the safety of vehicles moving fast in the night as important, that is why we had to put the lights as reflector to help traffic flow.
“I am planning to visit the place before the end of the week to talk to the saw millers to let them know why government has put in place the facility to safeguard lives and to tell them to desist from vandalising them,” the Commissioner added.
A traffic and safety expert, Patrick Adenusi, said the wire mesh panels served two safety and prevention of crimes on the highways.
Adenusi said the highway fence would restrain the menace of traffic robbery and other criminal activities by hoodlums who perpetrate crimes and run off across the road.
He said: “The facility will boost highway safety and curb criminal activities. The quick escape of hoodlums will no longer be possible. The hoodlums would want it out of the way”.
Adenusi who is the Executive Director, Technical, Safety beyond Borders, a non-governmental organization, advised the government to continue to educate residents to appreciate the facility to stop the vandalism.
Lagos Council Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ajayi Adeleye, also condemned vandalism of the new durable infrastructure.
He commended the state government for the new highway fence and called for continuous sensitisation on the importance of the road infrastructure, which was meant to protect both motorists and pedestrians.
“Government should not be discouraged by the vandalism, it should install this new highway wire mesh panels on all Lagos roads. The lights on this new highway fence are unique,” he said.
Two ward leaders in Oko Baba Saw Mill however, accused the miscreants for the vandalism of the facility, which they pronounced to be a good infrastructure.
Olalekan Ogunlana, Ward Chairman, Oko Baba Plank Market, said: “People are constantly knocked down by fast moving vehicles so government should put this new barriers everywhere.”
Vice Secretary, Ward D, Lagos State Saw Millers Association in Ebute Meta, Oladepo Adeolu, said that the association was sensitising the residents, and usually advised them against vandalism.
Musa Iliyasu, a commercial motorcycle operator in Makoko, said that the Adekunle Ramp of Third Mainland Bridge was an easier and cheaper bus stop for people going to Obalende or Adeniji.
Iliyasu said that one of the vandalised portions was used as quick access route on the Third Mainland Bridge Ramp linking Adekunle in Yaba to help pedestrians get to parks easily.
“If this place is not opened people cannot come down here to take bike or tricycle. They will have to walk all the way to Adekunle, which is the legal bus stop and we cannot park there.
“We like this highway wire mesh panels but it is disturbing our business, government should open a small space for those who want to take the risk to cross the highway,” Iliyasu said.
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