Hundreds of passengers travelling out of Lagos on Friday were stranded at the Ogun axis of the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway following a gridlock from the Magboro end of the road.
At almost every bus stop on the expressway, there were several commuters, some with the bags they were travelling with, standing and waiting for buses. It was observed that the passengers also rushed to enter the few buses that reached the bus stops.
Meanwhile, findings showed that the traffic started from Magboro end of the road and stretched back to Lagos.
At various bus stops, some of the passengers told our correspondents that they were travelling to celebrate Easter with their families but had been frustrated by the gridlock. Some others, most of whom live in neighbouring communities, also lamented the difficulty they had had in going back home.
At the Toll Gate Bus Stop, Chimah Eze, who was travelling to Warri, Delta State for Easter and had been standing at the Bus Stop for about three hours, told one of our correspondents that he might need to go back home and leave early the next morning.
He said, “When I got to the Bus Stop, I met many people standing, and people had to rush the few buses that came. I already promised my siblings I would be home today but with this traffic, I might just go home. I don’t like night journey.”
Several other passengers at the bus stop, including those at Seven-Up Bus Stop, who spoke to Saturday PUNCH expressed their dissatisfaction with the situation, lamenting the number of hours they had wasted travelling. “I never imagined I would spend the Good Friday on the road,” another passenger said.
Another passenger, Segun Onifade, at the Ojodu Berger Bus Stop said he had been waiting to board a bus going to Mowe where he preferred to board another bus going to Ore but that the fare was too much for him.
He said, “Normally Ojodu Berger to Mowe costs N150, and sometimes N100. But now, all the buses are charging N400 because of the traffic. That is why we are this many here because some of us can’t afford it. I might have to stay longer maybe it would come down. Some people have even gone back home, saying they would go early Saturday.
Also, those coming to Lagos were also not spared, even though there was no traffic on their side of the road. It was observed that the buses that would have conveyed them to Lagos had been stuck in traffic on the other side of the road.
A commuter at the Ibafo Bus Stop, who identified herself simply as Bimbo, said she had waited for about 45 minutes since 2pm to get a bus to Lagos, but she couldn’t get any. She lamented that the few ones available were charging “exorbitant” fares. Instead of N100, they were charging N300,” she added.
Another commuter, Peter Aina, who said he was going to celebrate the holiday with his sister at Ketu, Lagos, said if he couldn’t get a bus, he would return home and go on Saturday (today), having spent about two hours waiting for a bus.
“By Saturday (today), the traffic would have eased and there would be free movement of vehicles, I believe,” he added.
Responding, the Lagos State Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, Hyginus Omeje, said the traffic was a combination of many factors.
Omeje, who said he also spent about seven hours in the traffic, said the gridlock was primarily caused by a bad portion opposite the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry campground, coupled with indiscipline on the part of drivers.
He added, “Initially, there was steady movement, even though at snail speed, but due to impatience and indiscipline on the part of drivers, they formed three to four lanes instead of maintaining the normal two lanes at that portion with potholes. Some had their cars scratched, complicating the traffic.
“Also, there was high volume of cars on the road because of the Easter break. All those factors caused the traffic. We called Julius Berger to help fix that bad portion, even though they were not working today. And with the help of the police, NEMA and TRACE in Ogun State, we were able to manage the situation and the situation had improved.”
…Saraki, Dogara, Bauchi gov advise Nigerians
John Ameh, Leke Baiyewu and Armstrong Bakam
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has called for mutual respect among adherents of various faiths in the country, saying it is the only guarantee for peaceful coexistence among all Nigerians.
Saraki made this call in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, to commemorate the Easter period.
The Senate President urged all Nigerians to unite in confronting the challenges facing the country, while asking them to rededicate themselves to the service of God, the country and humanity.
He said, “I implore Nigerians to use the Easter period to renew their faith in God and strengthen the bond of friendship and brotherhood that has held the country united since the amalgamation in 1914.
“Among the essence of Easter is sacrifice, love for humanity and total submission to the will of God. These virtues should not be lost on us as Nigerians. Let’s continue to pray for a peaceful Nigeria that will be a pride to us and the future generation.”
Saraki further reiterated the commitment of the Senate to support the efforts of the present administration to build a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
In a similar manner, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, said that there were lessons in the Easter period that could help get the country out of economic recession.
He said the manner Jesus Christ rose from the dead after enduring suffering meant that for Nigeria, there is freedom at the end of the recession.
In a statement signed by his media aide, Mr. Turaki Hassan, in Abuja, Dogara urged Nigerians not to give up, but to continue to be innovative in order to get out of the recession.
Excerpts from the statement read, “As we remember the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we should draw lessons from his resurrection and rise above the challenges we currently face in this country.
“Even in recession, which the present administration is working hard to exit, there are many business opportunities, providing goods and services that will increase our gross domestic product, improve our economy and empower more of our citizens.
“We must put on our thinking caps, ginger our acclaimed spirit of innovation, rise above our challenges and get our country working.
“On our part, the House of Representatives will continue to collaborate with the executive by providing legislative backing to policies and programmes aimed at improving the living standard of Nigerians.”
The Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr. Yussuff Lasun, also urged Nigerians to continue to endure the recession, as there would be light at the end of the tunnel.
The Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar, has also called on Christians to use the Easter period to pray for the state and the country to get out of recession and also to overcome the menaces of kidnapping, insurgency and insecurity.