By Ebele Orakpo & Bose Adebayo
Economic activitises were practically grounded in Lagos Wednesday as many offices in the burstling mega city were virtually empty as a result of the heavy downpour that started at about 5.00am in most parts of the state.Â Most of the roads were flooded, thus hindering both human and vehicular traffic.
From Ogba to Ikeja,Â Oshodi to Mile Two, Festac, Apapa, CMS, the story was the same. For those going to Tin-Can and Apapa, it was hell. Commuters who were able to board commercial buses could not get to their destinations eventually as most of them had to disembark on the way to begin the homeward journey early enough.Â According to them, it was no use continuing the journey since it was obvious they might not get to their offices before close of work time.
Some called their families, colleagues and neighbours who were still at home to stay put and not bother coming out as that would be an exercise in futility.
This affected everyone because though fares were hiked, the transporters were not really happy as they could not make brisk business due to bad road and flood. In fact, some vehicles were practically submerged in the flood and as a result, many transporters kept their vehicles off the roads, compounding the woes of commuters.
The experience was particularly horrid for those plying the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway as they have to endure some frustratingÂ traffic ordeal following that early morning downpour. It was a day most of them will rather prefer to forget in a hurry, no thanks to the long hours they spent trapped in a traffic gridlock that stretched for long distances on both sides of the road.
For those heading to Mile Two and Wharf from Oshodi, the bitter experience for them started from Berliet and Iyana Itire. But it was actually from the Cele Bus-stop that the frightening reality of the ordeal hit most of them like a storm. The near-standstill gridlock stretched from here to Mile Two. With the traffic barely moving for hours on end, motorists were left to rue their decision to venture out in defiance of the rainy weather.
The situation was even worse for those of them who managed to get as far as Sanya and Rainbow bus-stops where the failed section of the road was heavily flooded making it impossible for them to drive through. Those that eventually dared got submerged and either got stuck there or were later pushed out after a lot of struggle.
Vanguard Metro counted about 12 cars whose engines stalled in the traffic. They had their bonnets up with their owners standing helplessly beside them or making frantic and futile efforts to restart their engines.
Even animals were not spared. A man was dragging his three goats through the flood. The smallest goat was almost drowning which attracted pitiful looks from equally suffering commuters who were wading through the flood along Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.
For residents of slummy Amukoko, the heavy downpour which started in the early hours of Wednesday, compounded their woes. Most residents of the sprawling slum who anticipated that the nearby canal will overflow its banks, stayed indoors to protect their household properties from being destroyed by the rains. Their expectations were confirmed as the blackish stinking flood water found its way into their homes.
The roads leading to the area which had remained impassable for a long time became a completely no-go area. â€œThe water donâ€™t bring out all the shit wey dey for gutter,â€ a man who could be in his late 60s said in a rather sarcastic tone as the few people who dared the flood tried to meander through to get to their destinations.
Almost immediately, a middle aged man riding a heavy engine Kawasaki motorcycle maneuvered his way through the flood.Â His escapade thrilled onlookers but an Okada rider who tried to toe his steps got stuck in the process. A young man who watched the incident and wondered how the Kawasaki motorcycle could meander through the flood declared in an emphatic note.Â â€œThis is armed robbers motorcycleâ€.
At Orile Iganmu, the canal at Alafia overflowed and flooded the new gutters being constructed.Â People were also seen bailing water from their shops and houses while others assisted in pushing out vehicles that got stuck in the flood. It was fun when a man paid someone to ferry him on his back.Â People applauded Okada riders who successfully made it through the water while booing those who failed to do so.
It was a different ball gameÂ at Amuwo-Odofin when some policemen had to remove their shoes and waded through the flood at Amuwo-odofin, but rather than offering a relief, it was an avenue to extort money from innocent motorists who were forced to part with N100 before such vehicles were granted access to other link roads.
â€œ1.2m Nigerians die annually in road accidentsâ€™â€™
ROAD accidents accounted for the death of 1.2 million Nigerians annually and 20-50 million people are disabled every year, while men, whose ages range from 15-49 years of age were mostly affected. As bread winner of the family and being the mainstay of the economy, the socio-economic loss can be enormous.
This was the submission of Dr. Wahab Yinusa, Medical Director, National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, at its annual workshop with the theme: â€œChallenges in the Management of Traumatized patientsâ€ held on Wednesday in Lagos.
According to Yinusa: â€œWorldwide the number of emergencies and disasters are on the increase. This trend is certain to continue and on the basis of this it has been projected that road traffic injuries will become the third most common cause of morbidity and mortality in the world by year 2020â€, adding that â€œ90 per cent of these road accidents occur in low and middle income countries like Nigeriaâ€.
Food, panacea to violence â€”Â NGO
A non-governmental organisation on agriculture, National Youth Project on Food Security, NYPFS, has said that in the spirit of this yearâ€™s celebration of World Food Day,Â food is a panacea to hunger and violence. This came on the heels of the warning, early this week, by the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Air-Vice Marshal Mohammed Audu-Bida (rtd), that food crisis is imminent in 11 states in the Northern part of Nigeria, due to drought in those states.
In a statement signed by its national coordinator, Mr. Ajadi Bolade Falolu, the body said: â€œThe NYPFS is an intervention programmes well thought out and designed to be a national rescue project on food production, storage, distribution and more importantly productive engagement of a sizable number of Nigerian youths in modern agricultural practices.
The name National Youth Project on Food Security states our most fundamental principle: That our society needs things that give life not things that give death. Our society is dominated by violence, politicking and the threat of violenceâ€.