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Lagos at Christmas: Gridlock, hoodlums, traffic robbery, potholes everywhere ~ Prestige News







• Residents groan, accuse Police, LASTMA, VIO of aggravating the situation



Lagos State, acclaimed to be the largest city in Nigeria and the second most populous city in Africa, is at present overwhelmed by gridlock, as it’s residents go through harrowing experiences daily, to get to their respective work and business places.




Though traffic congestion has been a common phenomenon in the state, it has assumed a worsening dimension.




The situation has made the preparation for Christmas burdensome for Christian faithful and non-Christians. Lagos residents are in pain. There’s the gridlock, menace of tankers and trucks, activities of hoodlums now approved by the state, traffic robbery, deteriorating roads etc.


The state government has duly been celebrating some mega projects it has done or plans to do but the little things that make life seem good if not comfortable have been neglected and the pains are getting very severe.


From the highbrow areas on the Island to the mainland and even in the suburbs, the situation is the same- traffic congestion everywhere!


This has made movements from one location to another, within or outside the state horrendous.


The situation has led to a hike in transport fares by over 200 per cent. For instance, from Oshodi to Mile 2, which used to be N200, passengers now pay between N500 and N800, depending on the situation.


The same is the case with intra- state transport. The situation has forced some Lagos residents to shelve their yearly visits to their states of origin even as there are also security issues that have forced many Southeasterners to stay put in Lagos.


Fuel scarcity


Another difficulty faced by Lagos residents this season is the lingering fuel scarcity.


It is a common feature to behold long queues at filling stations, most of which sell their products between N200 and N270.


The presence of these queues, coupled with dangerous potholes on major roads and disregard for traffic regulations have not only increased the man-hours lost on these roads but also posed health hazards to the users.


Lagos residents are further confronted by the intimidating sizes of trucks which are parked indiscriminately on the bridges and roads. Trucks parked on major roads before. Now, they are everywhere. With garages approved in purely residential areas by the government decency has eluded Lagos lately.


These trucks are parked in residential areas like Satellite Town, Ago Palace way and Apapa areas of the state. They deprive residents access of to ways.




As if the highlighted difficulties are not enough, criminals compound the plights of those trapped in traffic by dispossessing them of cash, telephone and other valuables.


These weapon-wielding hoodlums operate both in broad daylight and at night.


These criminals also operate in Lagos markets. Many areas are no longer safe for residents.


Residents blame Police, govt agencies


Some Lagos residents who spoke with Saturday Vanguard, accused the Police, the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Vehicle Inspection Officers and the Nigeria Customs Service of making the gridlock worse.


One of them, Richard Adams, a Freight Forwarder, said, “ The Customs and Police are the major cause of gridlock in Lagos State.


If you are coming from any of the ports in Apapa after a vehicle has been cleared, Customs Officers will stop us in the middle of the road at Sunrise, Otto Wharf, and Mile 2, demanding papers that have been checked inside the ports. Policemen also do that but the worst are agberos who call themselves Task Force. Until they are satisfied, they would not allow a vehicle to move.


They don’t consider other vehicles behind”.


Another motorist Tajudeen Mureni, said “ the impunity with which LASTMA and VIO officials carry on is unimaginable. They would stop vehicles abruptly, without considering the effect on vehicles behind. The annoying aspect is that VIO officials would flag a car down in the area where there is already gridlock, thereby heightening the sufferings of motorists that have been trapped in traffic”.


Recall that former Lagos State Governor, Akinwumi had to clear them from the roads and Lagos had a respite. Sanwo Olu brought them back.


FRSC speaks


When contacted to know what the Federal Road Safety Corps was doing about the traffic congestion, the Lagos State Sector Commander, Commander Olusegun Ogungbemide, said “the major problem we have that is affecting the free traffic flow is the queue at the filling stations and lack of discipline of some of those procuring fuel.


“ But I have directed my men to manage the traffic at the filling stations . We will continue to manage them”.


Also speaking on the diversion of roads caused by construction workers, he said


“construction companies are not supposed to do diversion without the authority of traffic management agencies that will manage diversion for them.


The conclusion is simple. The government has failed the people.


– Vanguard


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