By Bose Adebayo
THE young lady was obviously pre-occupied with her thoughts and so did not notice the woman and the powerfully built man approaching her at a rapid pace.
She had just crossed the busy expressway and was heading towards a row of commercialÂ buses presumably to board a bus. She was soon confronted by the duo and after a shortÂ conversation the now weeping young lady was led to a bus parked at a corner of the bus-stop.
Inside the bus were about four other individuals who had earlier been arrested for ignoring the pedestrianÂ bridge and risking their lives by dashingÂ across the traffic-busy expressway.
Although there are many bus-stops along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, the most popular arguably isÂ Cele, commonly known as Cele-Express.The popularity derives from the fact that it serves as an opening to Okota- Isolo area on one side while it also opens up to Ijesha/Lawanson and Surulere.
But over the years Cele has acquired a notoriety that borders on confusion, most especially on the use of the pedestrian bridge there by commuters and the ever-present roadside traders. Initially the excuse given by most of those who preferred to dash across the traffic-busy expresswayÂ was that the footbridge was inacessible after it was taken over by traders and beggars.
However, the Lagos State government took steps to restore sanity to the place byÂ sacking both the traders andÂ beggars from the pedestrian bridge. But the sanity and relief this brought were to be short-lived.
Although the pedestrian bridge is no longer congested by traders and beggars, most pedestrians still prefer to dash across the expressway instead of using it. In doing this they simply ignore the real danger of being knocked down by fast-speeding vehicles.
This has often resulted in a game of wit between them and council officials who come there to enforce compliance on the use of the foot bridge. Whenever the officials come around they never fail to arrest several offenders, an indication that most people prefer toÂ ignore the bridge at the expense of their own lives.
However, the leader of a team from the Isolo Local Government Council, Demola Banire, last week informed that the number of those disobeying orders to use the bridge has reduced in recent times. According to him: â€œAbout 70 per cent of pedestrians now use the bridge; itâ€™s only about 30 percent that have stubbornly refused to comply.
But we are working at ensuring that they comply by arresting them and taking them to court where appropriate punishment is meted out to them. We believe that is the best way to discourage them from putting their lives and the lives of others in dangerâ€.
In most cases, the large number of people crossing the road has resulted in accidents, some of which are fatal, apart from causing traffic bottle-necks as motorists try to avoid hitting these erring pedestrains.Â Motorists who refuse to stop for these pedestriansÂ usually get insulted and also stood the risk of having their wind screens and other parts of their vehicles smashed.
When Vanguard Metro approached some of these erring pedestrians, they attributed their action to sundry reasons.
â€œI always forget that the bridge is there; as soon as I see some people crossing the high way, I quickly join them. I have often asked myself why I do so but I think it is a bad habit that I need to overcome,â€ said Joe Alumona.
To Fred, crossing the express is faster than making use of the bridge. â€œMy sister, you know most of these buses do not get to the bridge before they drop passengers. I have never been involved in any accident since I have been doing this. All I know is itâ€™s God that protects. Whether one uses the bridge or not, those who will be involved in an accident will not escape it,â€ he said.
A pedestrian who refused to disclose her name simply said: â€œWell, making use of the pedestrian bridge is for our own safety but Nigerians are apt to violate rules and regulations.
If council officials carry out their duties on daily basis, I think a lot of pedestrians would have been tired of crossing the expressway. It is not that we are not aware of the danger associated with it but that is Nigeria for youâ€.
Lagos partners hotels on clean environment
In a bid to involve the private sector and corporate bodies in maintaining a cleaner, pollution-free and virile environment, the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) is presently partnering with Protea Hotels Leadway, one of the leading hotels in the country.
Details of arrangement shows that Protea Leadway Maryland, Ikeja is to take full responsibility for two employed staff under the service provider scheme (street sweeper) who have been assigned to ensure that the hotelâ€™s vicinity and environs is properly maintained and cleaned always.
During a brief ceremony in respect of this at Protea Hotel Leadway, LAWMAâ€™s Managing Director Mr. Ola Oresanya, who wasÂ represented by Mrs. Jihoho-Ogun, AGM(Commercial), stated that maintaining a clean environment is not the responsibility of government alone and called on other private individuals and corporate bodies to emulate Proteaâ€™s gesture as a way of giving back to the society.
Speaking further, Mr. Ola Oresanya explained that in performing its statutory responsibility of cleaning Lagos, the authority is currently servicing over 1,500 hotels in the state.
NNS calls for evacuation of Atlas Cove residents
The Commanding Officer of the NNS Beecraft, Obiekwe Ozojiofor, has called for the evacuation of residents in the Atlas Cove in Lagos to check pipeline vandalism.
â€œResettling the community living around the pipeline at the Atlas Cove is the solution to the possible risk of destruction and extraction of fuel from the pipelines,â€ he noted.
The Naval Officer added that in spite of the joint monitoring team of the Navy and Army, residents are still conniving with vandals to destroy pipelines in the area.
He said the joint task force will intensify patrol of the water ways.