Lagos Business District
The mega city status of Lagos, though celebrates the greatness of the city, sure comes with its own burden. Yesterday, one of such burden was felt by many Lagosians as the city literally froze, due to a crushing traffic snarl, which subjected many commuters to undue agony. Many of the residents had a tough time getting to their destinations as they spent endless hours on the road.
Places such as Oba Akran Road, Ikeja, Berger, Victoria Island, Iyana Ipaja, Maryland, Isolo, Oshodi, Mile 2, Apapa, Western Avenue, Ikorodu Road, Cele, Okota, Jakande Estate, Ikotun and Egbeda roads were simply shut down.
Other areas affected by the gridlock were Ebute Metta, Mobolaji Bank Anthony, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Ijora, Eko and Carter Bridges, Ikoyi, Seven Up, Ikeja, Oregun axis, Allen Avenue, Agidingbi and Lekki. Even the Lagos end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was not spared the traffic pangs.
Also affected was Jibowu area of the state all through to Herbert Macaulay Way and by extension Alagomeji where the traffic build up was much.
Not surprisingly, desperate motorists trying to find their ways out of the snarl only helped to further complicate a nasty case. Many commuters were forced into trekking long distances to get to their destinations. Some motorists even abandoned their cars by the road sides.
Surprisingly, the officials of the Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA) seemed to have been overwhelmed by the magnitude of the traffic chaos as they were sparsely seen in traffic-ridden areas.
Although no reason could be found for the gridlock, many of the residents believed that it was caused by the last-minute rush by those shopping for Sallah or those travelling. The traffic jam was further worsened by long queues of vehicles for petrol at filling stations, which forced many vehicles to meander through the roads and slowed down the traffic.
The queues indeed further embittered the motorists, even as black market sellers of petrol made brisk business. The traffic situation is worsened by the closure of the Third Mainland Bridge, which used to carry lots of vehicular traffic, especially for Lagos Island-bound motorists. The bridge was shut for repairs, which ought to be concluded next month.
For a state that boasts of 9,100 roads, the incessant challenge of traffic are tasking despite the numerous alternative routes. Already, the huge vehicular traffic yesterday has intensified the need for more alternative routes to be provided and bad roads repaired.
Expectedly, scores of commuters were stranded in different parts of the city as a result of the traffic situation, which was worsened by the recent ban on commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as okada.
Speaking to THISDAY, Mr. Chuwkudalu Francis said: “The effects of this traffic are encompassing; loss of manpower and time. To beat traffic, it’s either we leave our homes by 3am as against the normal 4am and come back very late.”
According to another motorist, Buchi Ihemmadu, the stay in the traffic was time consuming as he spent virtually all his day on the road. He lamented that there was mad traffic all the way from Sabo to Adekunle.
He said: “The state government needs to intervene by going back to the drawing board to map out a well-lasting solution that would ease the suffering of motorists. We cannot continue like this. Time is money and if I spend half of my day in traffic, how do I make the much needed money?”
Speaking to THISDAY, Funmi Ogunjobi said although she had to boycott the Ikorodu Road in favour of Western Avenue, the traffic on the route was heavy as other motorists had also taken the route as an alternative.
Some, however, attributed the traffic to the bad roads in different parts of the state. Areas like Jakande Gate, Oshodi/Apapa Expressway and Okota Road amongst others witnessed heavy flow of traffic due to the bad spots on the road.
Corroborating Ogunjobi’s claim, Bamidele Bolarin said: “As much as we are lamenting over the traffic situation, it is imperative to note that bad roads are a major factor. Due to the bad roads, a distance of 30 minutes could stretch to one hour or more.”
Looking hassled from the three hours spent in traffic from CMS to Ikeja, Mr. Adewale Akingboju described the traffic situation as excruciating.
Some commuters and motorists said it was ill-timed for Nigeria to experience fuel scarcity. They noted that the year was gradually drawing to a close and since more vehicles are expected to be on the road during this period, a lingering fuel scarcity would compound the people’s hardship. Many feared that the terrible traffic situation would affect those travelling for the Sallah holiday, which comes up today all through Sunday.
Capitalising on the situation, commercial drivers increased the fares by over 100 per cent. A normal trip from Ikeja to Ojuelegba was hiked from N150 to N500. The same reads true for virtually all parts of the state.
THISDAY checks revealed that the fuel scarcity was behind the sharp increase in price. However, the recent ban on commercial motorcyclists popularly known as okada, was said to be a major factor in the increase of transport fares.
Complaining bitterly, a trader on Lagos Island, Funmi Alade, said the sharp increase in transport fares would not be good for business. According to her, the sharp increase in transport fares will have a spiral effect on the cost of goods, as they (the traders) would still want to sell their goods with reasonable profit margin.
One man’s meat they say, is another’s poison. This reads true for the traffic situation. While others were lamenting, street hawkers were obviously excited as it helped them to make brisk business on the roads, as they sold all kinds of victuals to motorists and commuters.
Ranging from drinks to books, sausage rolls, car wipers, side mirrors, car carpets, the street hawkers had a field day as they sold their wares with glee.
However, the indomitable spirit of Lagosians was exhibited as people took the situation in their strides. People were seen carrying each other in buses just to accommodate others. Some others hung at the doors and boots of cars.
Also, the social media was not relegated as it turned out to be a channel of communication for road users. Many took to the social media especially the Twitter to get minute-by-minute update on routes to take as well as giving traffic updates.