By Fredrick Okopie
ITÂ was a journey that was estimated to last 30 minutes, all things being equal. But as far as travelling from the ancient town of Badagry to the bus terminal at Mile 2 is concerned things can never be equal in that context.
That is why no one raises an eyebrow these days when asked to payÂ N200 as fare by commercial motorists operating that route evenÂ when the situation does not warrant it such asÂ a heavy downpour or unexpected hike in petroleum products.
But no thanks to constant traffic gridlock at the Okokomaiko, Iyana Oba and First Gate Bus-stops on any given day, the journey usually lasts about two and half hours.
This was the experience of Vanguard Metro recently. After the 18-seater Hiace bus our reporter boarded left the Badagry park, it was not long before the reason behind the traffic bottlenecks began to unfold.
As the busÂ made its way through the Mile 2/ Badagry expressway to Agbara its first bus-stop to discharge three of the commuters, Vanguard Metro counted 13 checkpoints of mobile and regular policemen.
At each of these checkpoints, the driver would signal with a winkÂ to his conductor, followed by a mutteredÂ â€œtwo whiteâ€ which translates to mean that the police men manning the checkpoint be givenÂ N100.
Police men, of the Mobile variety(MOPOL) at some check-points, according to the driver, demand more than N100 since they consider themselves special. Indeed the vehicle was flagged down at two of such checkpoints and the driver â€œsettledâ€ accordingly.
But the driver was able to outsmart some checkpoint police men and escaped being stopped and parting with some cash.
But where the usually ubiquitous road transport union revenue collectors are concerned, the driver was never smart enough; they always succeeded inÂ stopping the vehicle and collecting what was due to them, whether legally or illegally.
The driverâ€™s frequent but impotent grumblings that this would affect his daily delivery did not make any difference to them.
At a time when the driver breathed a sigh of relief, he met a rude shock at the front of Okokomaiko Police Station. A young man dressed in shorts and T-shirt, under the supervision of a taciturn soldier in a sentry position, cradling a rifle, only had to use use his eyes to communicate or command and the driver immediately obeyed by parting with some money…
Gathering storm at French Language Village
Members of the Academic Staff of the Nigeria French Language Village are presently on the warpath. In fact, they have petitioned the Governing Council of the institution on alleged mismanagement and the alleged sorry state of affairs in the institution.
In the petitionÂ entitled: â€œBefore the beginning of the end: SOS Call for Redress and Salvation of the Nigeria French Language Villageâ€, the lecturers accused the management of inconsistency of policies, saying â€œthey see themselves as being appointed solely to see and hear the management only.
â€œâ€When it suits management they talk of conditions of service in the universities but when policies are for the good of staff, they talk of civil service regulations.
â€œWhen matters affect management, they do not wait for Council or even government circular before implementation, but when it affects staff, even when there is a circular backing Federal Government policy, management implements when it pleasesâ€.
Foursquare holds youth summit
Foursquare Gospel Church, Victoria Garden City, (VGC) has concluded plans to hold her annual Youth Week on August 26 to 29 at the church auditorium, VGC, Ajah. The theme: â€œNotÂ Tomorrow, Today: The Active Youthâ€ is aimedÂ at enlightening the youth on why and how to serve God in their youthful days.
It seeks to equip young people with skills that can make them relevant and agents of change in their families, communities, and the nation at large. It will feature talents show, get together party, counselling and seminars with lectures on entrepreneurship, career development, dating and sex.