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Residents and indigenes of Ogbomoso town in Oyo state on Wednesday occupied the Ogbomoso-Oyo road with a demand for the quick completion of abandoned Ogbomoso-Oyo expressway.

It had been reported that the residents in June this year, issued an August 1st ultimatum to the Federal Government for the completion of the abandoned expressway which they alleged had killed more people than Boko Haram, HIV and AIDS.

Our correspondent gathered that the angry residents, who took to major streets in the ancient town in protest over the abandoned road, blocked the road that links the northern and southern parts of the country since 7am.

They added that they were no more comfortable with the number of people the road has killed since the construction of the new road, which has now been abandoned, started about eighteen years ago.

Some of the residents, who gathered at Taki Square carrying placards and banners with various inscriptions such as “FG Complete our road”, “35 mins Journey now 2 hours, “Ogbomoso-Oyo road is our Boko Haram”, “Stop the killings, fix our road”, “We are not animals, we deserve better roads”, “Complete 18 year projects” among others, called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, to immediately mobilize contractor to the site for the completion of the road without wasting more time.

The protesters, which include members of various socio-cultural organizations and religious groups, added that they were left with no option than to protest when the ultimatum they had given, elapsed.

The residents, according to a statement signed by Reverend Israel Olaniyan (Head of Churches in Ogbomoso), Bishop Adebayo Akintola (Secretary, Head of Churches), Chairman, League of Imams and Alfas, Ogbomoso zone, Alhaji Imam Nafiu Abdulkareem Atanda and Hon. Michael Abioye (Secretary, Egbe Omo Ogbomoso Parapo Agbaye), a copy which was obtained by the newsmen, alleged that no fewer than 15 people lost their lives weekly and that 780 people lost their lives in a year, adding that 14, 040 people have died on the road in the last 18 years.

They maintained that the old road, which they called a death-trap, has led to the death of many youths, women and other promising indigenes and non-indigenes of the town because the new road which was meant to be the solution has been abandoned by the federal government.

The residents said, “The construction of the dual carriage highway which started 18 years ago has left the Ilorin-Ogbomoso and Oyo-Ibadan portion in a particularly deplorable condition while the Ogbomoso-Oyo axis of the express road is yet to be started. The situation has left no option for commuters than to continue to use the old Ogbomoso-Oyo road which is a one lane road plied by vehicles of all sizes, going to and from the Northern Nigeria.

“Statistics at our disposal indicates that an average of 15 persons die on the road per week. In a year, it indicates that an average of 780 persons is lost on this road. Multiplied by 18 years since the road was awarded, it shows that an average of 14, 040 persons have lost their lives on Ogbomoso-Oyo road. This is alarming and calls for urgent completion of the express road under construction.

“These have been a recurring decimal that must not be allowed to reoccur. An accidental death on the road has drastically cut short the life expectancy of persons living in this part of Nigeria.

“We indigenes and inhabitants of Ogbomosoland do hereby appeal to the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, to expedite action on the construction of the Ogbomoso-Oyo part of the Ibadan-Ilorin road.

“We appeal to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, His Excellency Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), to as a matter of urgency, declare a state of emergency on the Ogbomoso-Oyo road and ensure the road is completed.”

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