Nigeria: Open Defecation Crisis Emerges Along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Prompting Health Concerns

Nigeria: Open Defecation Crisis Emerges Along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Prompting Health Concerns

By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria

The Lagos-Ibadan expressway, a crucial 127km six-lane road connecting Lagos, Ogun, and Oyo states, has long been a focal point for various challenges. Despite significant improvements, including reconstruction and rehabilitation, a new alarming issue has surfaced – open defecation by miscreants along the median.

The expressway, serving as a vital route between North and South Nigeria, once plagued commuters with traffic congestion and frequent accidents, particularly involving fuel or gas-laden trucks. The reconstruction efforts initiated by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014, continued by President Muhammadu Buhari, were hailed for reducing accidents and eliminating traffic gridlock.

However, a disconcerting trend has emerged as miscreants engage in open defecation along the stretch from Sagamu Interchange to the Ojodu Berger axis of the expressway in Lagos State. Residents have expressed growing concerns about the health hazards and the potential for disease outbreaks if swift action is not taken.

Residents from Warewa to Isheri and Kara in Obafemi/Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State report that the median has been turned into public toilets by miscreants. The unpleasant sight of human feces and the overpowering stench have become a daily ordeal for passersby.

Despite complaints to government agencies over an extended period, the issue persists. Demilade Olukayode, a resident of Ibafo, attributes the problem to homeless miscreants. He emphasizes that the situation poses a severe health risk to residents, urging authorities to intervene.

Adekunle Adelaja expresses frustration that public toilets along the expressway remain underutilized, with some individuals opting for open defecation due to reluctance to pay a nominal fee. Adewale Adeniyi highlights the dire consequences, warning of stepping on feces while crossing the expressway and describing the odor as unbearable.

In the Kara-OPIC area, open defecation is reported to occur even in broad daylight, adding to the urgency of addressing the problem. Warewa trader Doris identifies enforcement by relevant government agencies as a key solution.

A community leader in Isheri, Mr. Adetunji Adekanle, attributes the issue to the absence of health and sanitation officers at the local government level. He advocates for the revival of Environmental/Sanitation Inspection Officers to monitor and enforce sanitation rules.

Concerned residents are calling for immediate government intervention, including arrests and fines for individuals engaging in open defecation. As the health risks escalate, the revival of effective sanitation measures is crucial to preserving the well-being of the community along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

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