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Akute: heartbreaking stories from a ‘forgotten’ border town

The journey to Akute — the border town shared by Lagos and Ogun State — takes about two hours through extremely bad roads, from Berger. The potholes have expanded to gaping ditches and gallops through them are almost backbreaking. 

For residents, it is a daily distress to commute back and forth from home to markets and offices. For motorbike operators (Okada riders), it is a torment to navigate the jagged terrain with passengers on the back seat; and for commercial tricycles (Keke Marwa), it is a no-go zone.   

The anguish the residents endure daily — and have lived with for many years — is literally written on their faces. 

Mrs Temitope Olaleye has lived in the town since 1997. “Is it fair to live in a place without a single tarred road?” she wondered in an interview with The Daily Report at the centre of town, which leads to Lambe (onwards to Sango), Isasi (onwards to Berger) and Alagbole. “For instance, a journey to Agbado which ordinarily should take minutes sometimes ends up taking three to four hours.”

Mrs Hanna Omolaja, a trader who lives in Isasi area is another resident who has to endure the daily struggles of commuting. “Transporters overcharge for goods and produce that we need to take to the market, because of the bad roads,” she says. “What should cost N100, they will charge us N1000. The government should please come to our rescue — we are suffering a lot in this place.”

Okada riders Adebayo Esegiri, Akeem Oluwole and Aremu Dangote have lived in Akute for upwards of 20 years. They say there has been no improvement on public infrastructure since they settled in the town.

 “Getting anywhere in this neighbourhood is a torment,” Esegiri says, adding that past democratic administrations in Ogun State have been insensitive to their plight in the past two decades. “Even schools for our children have been overrun by floods. They study in waterlogged compounds with no respite in sight. When it rains, we can’t even stand on this spot we are now.”

The trio wonder why the flyover bridge started eight years ago stands uncompleted and abandoned. 

“They demolished peoples houses because of this bridge,” Aremu Dangote says bitterly. “Look, it is now an eyesore. The government of Gbenga Daniel started it, the Amosun administration overlooked it. But we came out and voted for them both. It’s clear our votes don’t matter, that’s the only way to explain this suffering and neglect.”

Some have committed suicide, residents who spoke with us revela. And some others had stroke because of losing their property.

Beyond roads, residents also lament the irregular electricity supply. “They send us outrageous bills but we pay, though we don’t see the light,” says _. “Many times we go for weeks without light, and even when they bring it it last for only a short time and it’s gone.”

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