Residents of Ogbomoso in Oyo State and its environs have appealed to the federal government to expedite action on the completion the of Oyo-Ogbomoso expressway.
They made the appeal on Monday at a news conference held at Soun Ogunlola Hall, Oja-Igbo, Ogbomoso.
The Oyo-Ogbomoso section of the Ilorin-Ibadan expressway spans about 52 kilometres.
The road project started under the civilian administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
Dr Israel Olaniyan, who spoke on behalf of the residents, said their appeal to government was to complete the new expressway not later than Aug. 1.
Olaniyan, who is the President, Christian Council of Nigeria(CCN), Oyo State Chapter, bemoaned the dilapidated state of the old Oyo-Ogbomoso road, saying it had claimed many lives.
“The old Oyo-Ogbomoso road has become a death trap. This road claims more lives than HIV/AIDS or any other disease does in the community.
“Statistics at our disposal indicates that an average of 15 persons die on the old road per week. When this is multiplied by 52 weeks in a year, it amounts to an average loss of 780 persons.
“When this is multiplied by 18 years since the new road project was awarded, it showed that 14,040 persons have lost their lives on the old road.
“Just two weeks ago, 15 students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, lost their lives in a ghastly motor accident on the same road,” he said.
He said a speedy completion of the new road would protect residents and other road users from the dangers experienced on a daily basis on the bad road.
Olaniyan commended President Muhammadu Buhari and his predecessors who have contributed towards the completion of the road project.
Alhaji Isiaka Adeniyi, the Chief Imam of Odo-Oba and Alhaja Fatima Salaudeen, Amira of Ogbomoso community, also lamented the deaths on the road.
Mr Adegbola Adeyemo, NURTW Chairman, Odo-Oba branch, and Pa Adeleke Oladele, Chairman, Odo-Market, both further called on the Federal Government to ensure prompt completion of the expressway.
The Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Oladunni Oyewunmi, who received the stakeholders in his palace, expressed gratitude for their concern over the road.
Oyewunmi, who was represented by Chief Sobalaje Otolorin, the Areago of Ogbomoso, appealed to government to come to their aid,.
He said Ogbomoso community remains the gateway between the Northern and South-Western part of the country.
The news conference was attended by community leaders, market associations, youth groups as well as religious and ethnic associations.
A reporter, who visited the new Oyo-Ogbomoso expressway on Monday, reports that construction work was ongoing with a sign post indicating that the contract was being financed with a Sukuk Bond.