The Leadership of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Ogun State chapter has declared Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola persona non-grata across the state for lying to the citizens over the deplorable condition of Ota axis of Lagos Abeokuta expressway.
This became necessary after the expiration of twenty one days ultimatum given by the labour union to the Federal Government to fix the road that has become death trap to motorists and even destroyed the business activities in the area.
NLC boss, Comrade Emmanuel Bankole stated this in Ota, Ado Odo-Ota Local Government Council when he led the executives, and members of the labour to an on-the-spot assessment of the road which is no longer motorable.
The Ogun State chapter joined by their counterpart from Lagos State ably led by its Chairperson, Comrade Funmi Sessi in solidarity converged in large number to express their grievances at the unbearable situation of the road.
In his address at the scene, Comrade Emmanuel noted that the decision was to shut down the road but with what the state government was doing would make them not to shut down the entire local government area.
He said: “21 days ago, we were here and we gave ultimatum to federal government that we were not pleased with the state of the road particularly the Minister of Works Babatunde Raji Fashola who came here to promise that palliative work will commence immediately, but several weeks after, nothing was done and that was how the 21 days ultimatum given expired.
“Interestingly, few days ago they started some work and we can see some efforts by the state government, but this is not yet what we asked for.
“The minister was here and he promised that they will commence palliative and that is yet to happen and as such Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola for coming to lie to citizens of Ogun State is hereby being declared personal non grata.
“We are declaring him enemy of this state we don’t want him to visit the state for coming to lie to us, to fool us, and to deceive us that palliative work will commence and nothing was done. We see what is on ground which is the effort of the state government. This is unacceptable.
“The federal government cannot be collecting all the money and dong nothing and inflicting pains on us. That is why we are here to make a statement loud and clear that Babatunde Fashola is being declared personal non grata.
“The Federal Ministry of Works and Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) in Ogun State, we are declaring them personal non grata too.
“And when we leave this Ota, we are going to FERMA office in Abeokuta and also federal ministry of works to send message to their headquarters in Abuja that we are not pleased with what they are doing, that is why we are here.”
While responding on the effort of state government, he said: “The decision was to shut down this place initially as long as they are not ready, but for the effort that we have seen by the state government, we will just make a statement that the place will not be shut down.
“We are sensitive, not here to inflict pain on the citizens as people are already in pains over the years. We are not to show that we have muscle to inflict pains on them.
“But, we are going to make a statement loud and clear that we will not allow them to make mess of us like Fashola coming here to lie to us and after two months nothing is on ground. We are ready to take action.
“Our people are on ground to be monitoring the situation here on daily basis. We have our network everywhere, so they will continue to monitor the state of progress. We will not allow them to do window dressing and leave the place. We are going to be monitoring day to day progress on the road. I can assure our people about that.”
Meanwhile, on her part, Comrade Sessi who had earlier invoked the spirit of aluta expressed disappointment at the nonchalant attitude of government towards the plight of the road.
She added that many lives have been lost while many business activities have been destroyed as a result of the deplorable condition of the road.
She said: “Ota is the business hub of Ogun State whereby billions of naira is being remitted to the federal government but without having any feelings for the citizens in the area as they can no longer drive freely on the road.
“Lots of business owners have closed down their businesses and shops due to poor road network, even motorists are gradually abandoning the road as they can’t afford to be patronising mechanics on weekly basis.
“We are asking the federal government to begin reconstruction of the road as the bulk of money being generated as taxes come from this axis, and we cannot afford to be marginalised any longer.”