By Ṣeun Williams
In Badagry, the general hospital, fire service and the police are all located at different points along just one stretch of road in the heart of the town. It thus comes as no absurdity that the road is named after one of these public institutions, the oldest among them—the General Hospital.
For several months now, that road, a high traffic route, has, like many roads in the town, been a hellish mess. The situation at present is nothing short of a disaster strewn with many deep depressions and wide hell-holes overrun with muddy mire—read pọ̀tọ̀pọ́tọ́.
One crucial implication of the terrible state of the road is that emergency services in Badagry, not just for the town itself but for largely the whole of the division, have been effectively incapacitated. What this means is that the response time—that is if at all any response is possible—of critical services such as firefighting, policing and emergency medical services is now so unnecessarily extended as to make them (nearly) useless. To illustrate, a fire incident in some part of Ajara would have wrecked a major havoc or even burnt itself out before firefighters are able to arrive the scene. On another hand, a woman going into labour is likely to suffer birth complications if she is put through the awful roller coaster ride of being rushed to the Badagry General Hospital.
Evens so, the aforementioned emergency services establishments are not the only public institutions situated on or off the much important Hospital Road. There is also a military, the public works department’s complex and a number of schools. The divisional magistrate court and the Badagry Heritage Museum are equally located off the road. Importantly, there is also the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), the nation’s premier management training institute. Many of these establishments have a long history to them, with some dating as far back as the early colonial era.
However, given the current dilapidated state of the road and the fact that it also leads to the mortuary and the two major cemeteries in the town, it may be fitting to rename it “Road to Perdition”.
Accounting for the ruining of the road, a number of factors can be identified. Predominant among such factors is the constant traffic, especially in the last ten years, of tippers and lorries conveying loads of sand dredged from the lagoon at a site further down the road. Added to this is the fact that the road itself was never constructed to support such constant heavy-duty haulage. Moreover, relevant tiers of government and their agencies seem not to care a thing about the road’s condition. Perhaps, the concept of maintenance is lost on them.
The sand-dredgers and haulers too do not give a hoot; after all the massive tyres of their vehicles can not be stopped, even if they end up rendering the road a bog.
More than ever before, all relevant authorities and stakeholders must now rise up to see to it that General Hospital Road in Badagry is made motorable. Nothing short of a complete reconstruction of the road is what is needed at this point. No degree of rehabilitation or repair can fix the level of damage already done, or make the road able to withstand the enormous pressure put to it constantly. No town or people deserve to be cut off from emergency services as Badagry currently is!
Ṣeun Williams hails from Badagry, about which he loves to write. He can be caught roaming the web via @WheelHelms.