The Ogun State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has occupied the Lagos- Abeokuta expressway to protest the deplorable state of the road.
During the protest, the angry workers described Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Works and Housing, as an “enemy of the state.”
The protesters said Mr Fashola visited the state last month and promised to begin reconstruction works on the collapsed portions of the Sango road but nothing was done.
In September, the minister had said that palliative works would “soon start” on the failed portions of the expressway, including the Ota-Abeokuta highway.
On Tuesday, the NLC said its members would “shut down” the expressway on October 27 following the federal government’s inaction after a 21-day ultimatum was given to them to respond to the deplorable condition of the road.
On Wednesday, members of the NLC and residents in the state gathered at Sango carrying placards with various inscriptions like, ‘Enough of bad governance,’ ‘Dapo Abiodun, let us enjoy the dividends of democracy in Ogun,’ ‘Dapo, this suffering is too much,’ ‘Hear our cries, Ogun people are suffering,’ ‘Dapo repair our roads, it is our right,’ among others.
The protesters blocked vehicular movement.
The chairman of NLC in Ogun, Emmanuel Bankole, said their initial plan was to shut down the road but the efforts of the state government caused them to rescind their decision.
“Ordinarily, the decision was to shut down this place entirely, but the efforts that we have seen by the state government, the place will not be shut down,” Mr Bankole said.
“We are sensitive, we are not here to inflict pain on the citizens of the state. The citizens are already in pain. We are not here to add to it but to make a statement loud and clear that we won’t allow them to make a mess of us, just like Raji Fashola coming here to tell us that work would start immediately and nothing was done for more than two months.
“This is unacceptable to us and we are ready to take action.
“Our people are on ground here to monitor the state of progress. We have our networks all over the state. We would not allow them to come and do window-dressing and leave this place. We want to be monitoring day to day progress on the road, I can assure our people about that.”
Mr Bankole said the workers are disappointed with the works and housing minister.
“21 days ago, we were here. We gave an ultimatum to the government that we are not pleased with the state of the roads; particularly the minister of works coming here to promise that palliative works will commence immediately and several weeks after nothing was done. That was why the 21 days ultimatum was given.
“Interestingly, a few days ago, they started some work. We can see some loads of granites by the state government. But this is not yet what we asked for. The minister was here and he promised to commence an immediate palliative, that is yet to happen.
“As such, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, for coming to lie to the citizens of Ogun State, he is being declared persona non grata in Ogun State. We are declaring him an enemy of Ogun State. We don’t want to see him in Ogun State for coming to fool and deceive us that palliative works will commence and nothing was done.
“We saw what is on ground which is the effort of the state government. The federal government cannot be collecting all the money and be inflicting pains on us. That’s why we are here to make the statement loud and clear that Babatunde Raji Fashola, the ministry of works and also the FERMA in Ogun State are being declared persona non grata.
The workers said they would move the protest to the office of the Federal Road Management Authority to further send a message to their Abuja headquarters.
“When we leave this place, we are going to the FERMA’s office in Abeokuta and also the ministry of works to send a message to their headquarters in Abuja that we are not pleased with what they are doing,” Mr Bankole said.
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