Gowon Estate residents spend N3.5m to repair govt. roads

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Lagos- The residents of Gowon Estate, Egbeda, a suburb of Lagos, have commenced the repairs of the dilapidated roads in the community with over N2 million they raised.

The project which commenced on Saturday is being coordinated by the estate’ Community Development Association (CDA) which organised the fund raising.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that loads of laterites had been piled up on 34, 401, 411 roads and on 3rd and 4th avenues in the estate.

Also, tippers were observed offloading sand in different parts of the estate while some residents were seen monitoring the ongoing rehabilitation as tractors embarked on grading of 34 road.

NAN reports that the residents had spent about N1.5 million in 2014 to fix some of the roads that were completely impassable.

Speaking on the rehabilitation, Mr Nathaniel Okoro, the Chairman of the CDA, told NAN that government had abandoned the roads since 1976, when the estate was built.

Okoro said that the residents, many of whom are retirees, had decided to pull their hard earned money together to fix the roads.

“We are putting our resources to fix roads to make life easy for us having suffered many years of abandonment by the federal, state and local governments responsible for handling the situation.

“The Federal Government has forgotten us; the state government has forgotten us, so we as a community decided to do what we can within our means to make our lives comfortable.

“The efforts by the CDA in the northern part of the estate have been cumbersome, but could have been worse if we continue to wait for these tiers of government.

“So far, we have been able to raise close to N2 million to start the rehabilitation.

“Some of the roads that are motorable are due to the efforts we put in last years, this year we have discovered that some of the important roads are becoming unmotorable,’’ he said.

Okoro said that the cost of making life confortable was borne only by the residents and that it would continue until the government decides to look at the plight of the people.

He added that if the fund contributed failed to achieve the expected target, residents would sit down again to make contribution.

According to him, the residents cannot afford to tar the roads because of its cost implication, but would grade them and pour hardcore stones to make them last.

Okoro said that the poor condition of roads had made businesses to suffer, while the cost of vehicle maintenance had increased because of the deplorable condition of the roads.

The chairman, however, urged corporate bodies to assist the CDA in making life comfortable for the people, including the senior citizens.

He commended the residents, business owners, churches and mosques for their contributions and pleaded with them to do more.

Okoro urged the President-elect to consider the rehabilitation of the federal government estate which had been abandoned since its completion in 1976.

“The people have so much faith in him to bring change; we hope that things will change for the better for us.

“Let him remember that there is an estate called Gowon Estate where people are suffering; we are struggling with the hope that he’s going to be the one ameliorate the situation,’’ he said.

The CDA chairman said that the struggling would continue until the roads are completely tarred.

Meanwhile, Mr Salami Fasanya, a retiree from the Federal Ministry of Finance under the Nigeria Customs Service and a resident, said it had not been easy to contribute for the provision of amenities.

Fasanya noted that such amenities were what the government ought to have provided for the citizens.

“In the past, we have discussed the estate’s problems with government but none seemed to care, with respect to roads rehabilitations and drainages among others.

“The LCDA’s generate some fees here in the estate, they collect land use fees, and taxes from small businesses around but they have refused to use the funds collected to fix our problems.

“They have turned deaf ears to us and told us that there is no money to fix our roads.

“This is why we have taken it upon ourselves to pull our resources together to achieve something by our own efforts,” he said.

Fasanya said that the residents of the community taxed themselves to provide things that would make them comfortable.

“We have spent over a million naira and we are committed to spending more, however, it has not come easy because most of us living in the estate are retirees,’’ Fasanya said.

Mr Moroof Adeoti another resident and a retiree, said that the ongoing road repair was praiseworthy and that it would continue with their hard earn pension.

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Adeoti expressed the hope that the new government would fulfill its promises of rehabilitating all the dilapidated Federal Government Housing Estates.

“`It will be our joy if the newly elected government at the local, state and federal levels can come to our rescue because the estate has been abandoned since 1976,’’ he said.

Mr Tobias Atasiem, a retiree from the defunct National Carrier, Nigeria Airways, said that the community came together to make life better for themselves rather than wait in vain for the government.

“It is a great development to see our community waking up to the responsibility of trying to repair roads that will have meaningful impact on our lives.

“If we can achieve something with what we been able to contribute then it push us somewhere such that we can be encouraged to do more,’’ the retiree said.

Another resident, Mrs Gift Destiny-Onwuka, owner of a catering services business, said she was excited with the CDA’s commitment to rehabilitate the roads.

She said that “these roads have been abandoned for years, and the drainages blocked due to lack of maintenance.

Destiny-Onwuka said that the rehabilitation would increase sales and make the road safe for children. (NAN)