The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in Ogun State, National Association of Ogun state students (NAOSS) and the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), have berated the Minister of Works, Babatunde Raji Fashola over his comment that the State lacked the power and fund to take over the reconstruction of the deplorable Lagos-Sango Ota – Abeokuta road.
The student and youth bodies called on the Minister to tell residents of the State when the Federal government would commence reconstruction of the road since he insisted that the State cannot not take over it.
The students gave the Minister a 2-week ultimatum to commence reconstruction of the road, else students and youths in the State would shutdown the road in a massive protest.
The bodies issued the ultimatum in a statement jointly signed by NANS Chairman, Comrade Simeon Damilola Kehinde, NAOSS National president Com Ogunrombi Oluwagbemileke and Chairman of National Youth Council of Nigeria,Ogun state Com Ayelagbe Jabar on Tuesday, describing the Minister as incompetent and lacks empathy. He is not concerned about the sufferings of the residents and those plying the road.
It would be recalled that, Governor Dapo Abiodun during an inspection tour of the bad portions of the 52.5 kilometre road on Saturday, called on the Federal government to fix the road within two weeks failure to which the State would take over its reconstruction.
Ogun and Lagos State governments had in 2019 submitted a proposal to the Federal government, seeking the handing over the road to them for joint for reconstruction.
Abiodun lamented that, three years after, the Federal government had failed to consider the proposal while the condition of the road had worsened.
Abiodun accused the Federal government of frustrating his administration’s efforts at reconstructing the road.
But, Fashola while reaction to Abiodun’s statement during an interview on Channels television, said, Ogun State lacked the financial capacity to reconstruct the road.
Fashola warned Abiodun not to engage in an act contrary to the law by reconstructing the road without the Federal government’s approval.
But, the NANS, NAOSS and NYCN in Ogun State has described Fashola’s comment as the height of insensitivity to the plights of residents of the State by the Federal government.
The bodies commended the sincerity and commitment of Governor Dapo Abiodun towards fixing the road, said, the Federal government has failed in its responsibility and therefore sees nothing wrong in Ogun State taking over the reconstruction of the road.
“We are saddened by the insensitivity and wickedness of the Federal government through the Ministry of Works to continue to subject residents of the State to untold hardships by not fixing the deplorable Lagos-Sango Ota – Abeokuta road.
“For years, our people especially thousands of people who ply the road on daily basis have been going through hell.
“But it is very unfortunate and disappointing for the Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola to oppose the reconstruction of the road by the Ogun State government and not providing us a solution to this huge problem.
“We consider Fashola’s comment as a further prove of his incompetence, not showing concern to the huge deplorable state of the road and the Federal government’s insensitivity to the plights of the Ogun State people.
“It is so unfortunate and irresponsible for Fashola to turn down Ogun State government’s offer of reconstructing the road even when Fashola has admitted that the Federal government has no fund to fix the road.
“Is it not only honourable for the Federal government to allow the Ogun State government fix the road and alleviate the sufferings of the road users? Why does the Federal government hell-bent on inflicting pains on the people when there is an option to resolve the issue?
“We hereby call on the federal government to as a matter of urgency commence work the Sango-Ota road and we condemn in totality the deliberate insensitivity of the Minister for works and housing.
Finally, if at the expiration of our ultimatum (2 weeks), the federal refuses to commence work,we would mobilize en-mass to shut down the Sango-Ota road.