SUBAIR MOHAMMED engages major representatives of Lagos residents on what they want from the state government as Babajide Sanwo-Olu begins his final term as the state governor.
CURBING the scourge of cultism, substance abuse and violent crimes among youths in Lagos State is atop the multitude of demands of Community Development Committees (CDC) in the six divisions of the state from Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu as he began his final term in office this week Monday.
Apart from the need for the completion of abandoned road projects and construction of sporting facilities in the Ikorodu division, the chairman of the Community Development Committees (CDC) in Ikorodu Local Government Area, Alhaji Lukman Sonibare, told Saturday Tribune that many youths in the district have taken to substance abuse.
This, Sonibare stated, is one of the major challenges residents of the community urgently requires the governor to tackle.
According to him, drug and substance merchandising and abuse is a new trend in Ikorodu with many youths in the community engaging in this trade, using motorbikes.
He appealed to the state government and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to visit the nooks and crannies of the town and arrest and prosecute the culprits to save the youths from destruction.
The CDC chairman said: “In the Ikorodu Division, we want a lot from Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu’s administration. In terms of road infrastructure, many projects have been abandoned and they need to be completed. For about five years, the Agric-Owutu Road was under construction but about a year ago, a part of it was tarred only for it to be left uncompleted.
“Also in Igbogbo Bayeku Local Council Development Area, the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Way is crying for attention. It has been abandoned, too. Gberigbe Road was awarded last year but, as I speak, it has also been abandoned.
“Likewise, the road linking Ikorodu to Ijebu-Ode is a nightmare. We were told that construction work on the road would start in January this year but it was later shifted to June. It is our hope the construction will commence as scheduled.
“Talk about sports in the entire Ikorodu Division, we have numerous talents but there is no sporting facility. There are talents in football, volleyball and other sporting activities but there is not a single sports complex in the division. The Igbogbo stadium project was abandoned. We want Governor Sanwo-Olu to help residents in the division to enjoy dividends of democracy.
“In the area of security, we appreciate God in the life of our monarch, the Ayangburen of Ikorodu and other notable indigenes. Also, the Ikorodu Divisional Peace Initiative has been helpful in securing the division. We have the local vigilantes. There are the Agbekoya and the OPC who collaborate with the police and other security agencies. Security is about 65 per cent, although there is room for improvement.
“On youth development, I want to specially appeal to the Lagos State government to stop empowering the youth with money and other material things because doing so creates more problems than it solves. In some areas, when the youths are empowered with tricycles, okada or with cash, they end up putting these items up for sale and in the end they become useless to themselves and the community.
“The best form of empowerment the government should focus on is to equip the youth with skills and vocations. The government should establish vocational institutions where our youths will be trained and then given grants to establish themselves instead of distributing to them, motorcycles, tricycles and cash gifts.
“Also, many of the youths have taken to drugs. The NDLEA needs to up their game because many of the youths in the division are into drug sales and addiction. The rate at which youths do drug is alarming. The operatives come into the community, make some arrests only for them to be released and then they go back into the illicit drug trade and abuse. The menace is increasing. We cannot eradicate drugs but the government should make efforts to reduce it to the minimum”.
For motorists and residents plying the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, operatives of the police, customs, NDLEA and NIS engaging in stop-and-search operations are a common sight.
But for the chairman of the CDC, Badagry, Kuponu Ebenezer, there is more to their presence than searching for contrabands.
He accused the officers of the law of extorting commercial bus drivers and other motorists. This is one of the major challenges confronting residents and visitors to the division, according to him.
He appealed to the state government to intervene and bring to an end, the alleged extortion.
He said: “The police, customs and the NDLEA are our major problems on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway and indeed in the Badagry division. They stand on the road extorting motorists.
“The checkpoints on the road are countless. We don’t even know whether they are real or fake because they openly demand N100 bribe from commercial bus drivers. They all wear uniforms and are armed with guns while extorting motorists. This also needs to be looked into.
“Away from this, I want the administration of Governor Sanwo-Olu to, in the new term, create jobs for our youths. Many of them move around the streets without a specific purpose. The joblessness of our youths is a major cause of crime. If they are gainfully employed, they won’t see crime as an option.
“When I was in Modern 3, I had a nice job waiting. Government officials were everywhere scouting for people to employ but the situation has changed. We want the return of that era in Lagos State and Nigeria. Many businesses have been moved from Lagos State because of the epileptic electricity supply. There was a time in Lagos State when Ijora was the home of industries. Our children rushed to Ijora for employment but all the industries have left because of poor electricity supply. This situation needs to change to reduce kidnapping and other crimes.
“I want the Lagos State government to create jobs and make electricity stable. The recurring fuel scarcity should also be looked into because the masses, who voted the elite into power, are suffering the brunt.
“Also, there is the issue of border closure. We want the border reopened. Many of our children who work at the border are jobless because of the closure. Many of them work as load carriers and okada riders carrying passengers from Nigeria to the Republic of Benin but since the closure, they have been jobless.
“Almost all our roads in Badagry are in deplorable conditions. Roads leading to Oko-Afo from Agbara are in terrible shapes.”
Epe wants connection
For Epe LG CDC chairman, Hon. Abiodun Ajiborisa, residents of the ancient town of Epe want the state government to construct Eleran-Igbe road to connect the fourth Mainland Bridge.
According to him, the construction will further open and boost the economy of the town.
He said: “The governor should improve the living standard of the people of the state. The president should find a lasting solution to the fuel scarcity. The only problem we have in Epe is the construction of Eleran-Igbe road to the fourth mainland bridge. All other roads in Epe are in perfect shape.
“Successive governments promised to commence work on the road but they only pay lip service and nothing is seen to have bern done. The road was awarded during the administration of Lateef Jakande but it was abandoned. They only do the culvert and left the main work uncompleted.
“The impact of the abandoned road on the lives and economic of people in the axis is negative. Epe is the food basket of Lagos, the poor state of the road has brought about increase in prices of goods and services of goods and commodities.”
Sanwo-Olu for Somolu but…
Construction of drainage systems and dredging of the canal are some of the priorities of residents of Shomolu Local Government Area.
Chairman, CDC, Shomolu LG, Dapo Oduguwa said, “The governor has been doing a good job in Lagos state and particularly in Shomolu LG. In terms of road construction, Shomolu is well connected. I can only appeal to concerned agencies to ensure the roads are maintained.
“Under Governor Sanwo-olu, Shomolu has developed compare to what it used to be. There is inter-connectivity in Shomolu. You can easily connect one area from another. Importantly, the government should improve on the waste collection system and improve on the drainage clearing because Shomolu is a wetland.
The system 1 and 2 canal needs to be cleared periodically to avoid flooding which over the years has wreaked havoc in the district. Clearing the canal with check flooding challenges Shomolu is known for.
“The security is germane. The LNSC officials are doing great in terms of information and intelligence gathering and this has really help in improving internal security.”
Mainland battles cultism
Lagos Mainland CDC chairman, Mr. Tajudeen Quadri said, “The first tenure of Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu has been eventful and impactful. He committed himself to the THEMES agenda. He has invested heavily on infrastructure and given students and residents in Lagos Mainland a new lease of life with his administration’s investment in the healthcare, education and the transport sectors.
“The governor has resuscitated the blue line train service that has been abandoned for too long. Just last week, he invited the CDC to take a ride on the Blue line to Marina. It was an excellent journey.
“My agenda for him is for him to continue with the THEMES agenda. I don’t want him to lag behind in fulfilling what he has promised the people of the state. We want an improvement in infrastructure and social amenities. “Cultism is more pronounced in one area than the other and Ebute-meta is one of such areas but cultism has subsided in Ebute-meta now.
“What I want the governor to do is to be proactive in the sense that you don’t allow incidents to happen before arresting the situation. Whenever there is any information about people gathering illegal, the concerned agency of the government should respond swiftly.
“The security agencies especially the LNSC should be equipped with modern technology. The Lagos state government must deploy technology to curb crime and criminalities. Once this is done, the security agencies should also be strategically positioned to look into the issue of porous border, so that anything coming into the country will be closely assessed by the Customs and other relevant agencies.”
LAWMA abandoned markets?
The Iyaloja-General, Itire-Ikate LCDA, Alhaji Rafatu Ajagbe, wants Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to concentrate on improving standard of living of Lagosians and bequeath a cleaner environment, quality healthcare and affordable education to all Lagosians.
She said,”Traders in our market patronise cart pushers because LAWMA has stopped coming to the market. There were issues bordering on indiscriminate dumping of refuse in the market.
“We want LAWMA to be more effective in waste collection. I won’t say traders do not owe LAWMA fee but they have not been coming to the market since January. We had to contract the cart pushers to collect our waste and ensure that the market is kept clean.
“The Iyaloja-General of Lagos, Mrs Folashade Ojo has warned against dirtiness and all other acts that could jeopardise public health. She instructed us to pay lock up bills and maintain high sanitary hygiene. And this we adhere to.”
Speaking on the expectations of Igbo community from the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in Lagos State, the leader of Igbo community in the state, Chief Chris Ekwilo, wants inclusion of the Igbo community in the governance of the state.
He said, “Our expectations are high. During his first tenure, he did a government of inclusion. He included all ethnic nationalities in his government. The Igbo community expects government of inclusion.
“It’s on record that Igbo man is a member of the cabinet through which he reached out to the Igbo community. We are hopeful of an improved relationship.
“Igbo community is known for business and when crisis erupted in his first term, he did his best for it not to escalate. We hope for a peaceful coexistence and inclusivity in his second tenure.
“The Igbo community is expecting to see a continuity of the peaceful coexistence between other ethnic groups. We are expecting a crisis-free Lagos. In all ramifications, we are expecting to see a government of inclusion by reaching out to the Igbo community as he did in his first term. He should continue with the government of inclusion.”
READ ALSO FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE