Tension in Orimerunmu as residents move to salvage damaged community road from sand dredgers

A brewing tension between residents of Orimerunmu town on one side, and the dredging companies operating in Amu, a riverside community, as well as truck drivers patronising the sand mining companies, is threatening the tranquillity of the community that provides access road to the popular Lagos Ibadan Expressway.

A hitherto peaceful Orimerunmu community in Obafemi Owode Local Government of Ogun state is under threat as the neglected main road running through the town links the expressway that serves as an exit route for heavy-duty trucks scooping sand from the mining site behind the community.

The simmering hostility was as a result of damages done on the road by heavy trucks conveying sand from the mining site passing through Orimerunmu to connect the expressway.

According to sources with the community, Capital Waves Nig. Ltd, reportedly owned by businessman, Tunji Abioye aka TJ of Holland, consisting of three dredging outfits, were operating in Amu with heavy patronage from far and wide. A resident put the number of trips at about 500 on a weekly basis by heavy-duty trucks on the road.

The situation got to a head as the dredging companies have reneged on several promises made in the past to fix the road. According to Engr. Edward Makinwa, a resident whose house is located on the Orimerunmu road, the repairs carried out on the road at the peak of the rainy season by the dredgers were selfish and self-centered as they only dropped heavy stones into craters dug on the road as a result of the effects of the trucks believing that it would always be convenient for trucks to move while it did damages to our cars breaking engine sumps and leaving us with broken ball joints and shafts. Makinwa seeks the assistance of the Ogun state government to save the road as people are packing out of the community in droves.

Another resident, Ramon Ajani lamented that whenever it rains, cars cannot move on the road and it becomes extremely difficult for Okada riders to navigate as many have fallen into ditches while the mud on the road doesn’t allow pedestrian movement sometimes. According to Ajani, an artisan, the road is killing our businesses as vehicles can no longer move freely to drop materials for us at the sites. He therefore appealed to the government to consider constructing the road for the benefit of all.

Olabisi Ibrahim, who operates a popular eatery in the community lamented the negative impact of the dilapidated road on business in the community. She told our correspondent that most times people find it difficult to cross the road to make their purchases whenever the road is flooded and muddy. An opinion shared by most shop operators along the Orimerunmu community road. They also lamented that the negative effects of the road situation on their businesses notwithstanding, the local government’s lock-up shop rates collectors bombard the community whenever the road is dry, with padlocks, threatening to forcefully lock any shop that refuses to pay their taxes.

To salvage the community from total cut off from the expressway as the only road connecting it is completely damaged by heavy-duty trucks scooping sand from the dredging company, community leaders and elders of Orimerunmu, on July 31, 2023 took their case to the chairman of Obafemi Owode Local Government, Hon. Adesina Ogunshola.
In a letter presented to Adesina, signed y the community leaders, they reminded the chairman that “our road has been long overdue for reconstruction” and that residents of the community have tried our possible best that the road is motorable, but our efforts have not been enough to fulfil our desire”

After hours of deliberations, the chairman promised to table the community’s grievances before the Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, and that Orimerunmu is one of the six roads he has listed for the governor for reconstruction in the local government.

The community leaders led by Chief Adio Mowo, a political leader in Ofada ward, Adekunle Anifowose, the APC chairman in Ofada ward, and Mr. Oladimeji Salau, left the chairman’s office relieved that help is on the way as their grievances will get the governor’s listening ear this time around.

Last week when words went round that Adesina will conduct an on-the-spot assessment visit to the Orimerunmu road at the instance of the state governor, Dapo Abiodun, it rekindled their hope that finally help is on the way. But hope soon became despair as Adesina, less than 24 hours before the scheduled visit, called to call it off on the grounds that he had other assignments.

In hopelessness and disappointment, the Orimerunmu community felt left alone to carry its cross. In the past, the community has dragged the dredging companies to the Divisional Police Station in Mowe. According to Rotimi Ariyo, who is the secretary to the Baale-in-council of the town, Divisional Police Officer, Folake Afeniforo mediated on the matter. She acknowledged that the Orimerunmu road in hampering the division’s patrol duties too and advised the dredgers not to just fill up the road, but compact it with a roller machine so that the efforts would endure but such were never done.

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