By Ishola Balogun
Residents of Ikorodu, who commute to and from Lagos for their daily bread are not finding the trips funny these days.
Although a mere 20 kilometre or twenty minute journey, getting out of or getting into the town from Ketu is full of stress. Traffic gridlock has become a routine, endless man hours are lost, and business appointment blown away.
It is not uncommon for desperate motorists to abandon their cars and hop on commercial motorcycle to enable them keep important appointments.
“It is unbelievable that even on a public holiday, traffic can be crazy. We spent about four and half hours between Ikorodu and Mile 12. I really cannot quantify the loss. For me, I have missed some of my schedules. I could have taken okada and abandoned my car, but would I abandon my wife and children who were riding with me,” Dotun Olabode, a businessman said.
Oladimeji Oladele who was on the road last Friday with his ailing mother who had just been discharged from the hospital tells his own story thus “I was trapped in it last Friday. In fact, it was a harrowing experience because I had my ailing mother who was discharged from the hospital in the car.
I can’t imagine the pain the woman went through for several hours before we got home. Both directions of the roads were blocked and we could not turn back. It took us over three hours before we got through from the grid_lock.”
From the Ikorodu axis to Mile 12 on the one hand and from Ketu to Ikorodu on the other hand, it has been the inexplicable nuisance of traffic jams caused mainly by utter disregard for traffic rules on the part of the motorists, especially commercial drivers.
Dotun Olabode who has been commuting on the road for six years on a daily basis said indiscipline by yellow_bus drivers and a serious failure of control on the part of the LASTMA officials who sometimes watch helplessly how traffic laws are being disobeyed by these yellow-bus drivers do not help matters.
“If the LASTMA officials were up to their bidding in terms of bringing the offending yellow_bus drivers to book, the situation would be minimised. But most times they watch them flouting the traffic laws,” he says.
Saturday Vanguard observed some yellow_bus drivers stop indiscriminately in the middle of the road to pick passengers making free flow of traffic difficult. Besides, trucks carrying food items usually obstruct traffic at the Mile 12 end especially when off_loading, Traffic sometimes stretches to Ajegunle and Asolo in Ikorodu area.
The rising population of people in Ikorodu without a corresponding growth in the provision of alternative roads as well as others means of transport system is another factor responsible for the traffic problem in the area. Water transportation is underdeveloped. Only a few private operators operate the business and without adequate safety measures.
Oladele said that the waterways are under_utilised. “We don’t have efficient waterways system here, so, I can’t go on a voyage that has a poor safety measure. There must be good safety measures in place by the operators. The government ferry you’re talking about is not working, I have not seen it. What we have are the private operators who only want to maximise profit.”
Another motorist who said he is a government official and will not want his name in print said the officials of LASTMA went to sleep during and immediately after the election adding that they seemed to be still basking in the euphoria of the victory of the governor of Lagos State.
He also added that the development in Ikorodu area should have prompted the government to think of alternative roads in and out of the axis to make life easy for residents of the area.
The Special Assistant to the governor on Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa could not be reached for comments but officials of LASTMA and some traffic wardens of the police last Tuesday swung into action to unlock the traffic grid that had caused pain and anguish to motorists commuting through the area.