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Victoria Island community cries out over six years of road blockade

BY JOSEPHINE IGBINOVIA

Residents of Taslim Elias Close, Victoria Island, Lagos, have cried out for urgent government intervention over alleged acts of indiscriminate parking in the area, saying this has gone on for six years.

One of the residents, a naturalised Nigerian of Italian descent, Floriana De Stefani, is the Managing Director of Animex Industries Limited, a hospitality firm on the Close. Floriana who claims to have operated on Taslim Elias since 1992 told Vanguard Metro that the area had lost its serenity since staff of corporate organisations in the close began parking their vehicles with reckless abandon.

Lamenting the unfavourable effect of the development on her hospitality business, she said: “My guests would appreciate an environment that is devoid of unnecessary traffic and bottlenecks caused by double-parking on both sides of the road and trading indiscriminately on the T-junction leading to my premises. There are days I spend over 30 minutes between my premises and Ahmadu Bello Way.

“I have approached these organisations and I have written to the Lagos State Transport Management Agency, LASTMA, to save my business from collapsing as a result of inaccessibility to my premises. In 2010 when one of the firms last responded to my letters, it promised measures were being implemented to alleviate the situation and that we would observe the changes in no distant time. But since then, nothing has been done. There was a time when I had to pay heavily for mobile security personnel to man the road for over one year!”

Another resident who spoke on condition of anonymity chided the corporate bodies over what she described as ‘total insensitivity’.

“Now, we have situations where people spend 45 minutes only to get out or into this close. We had an instance when a worker fell from a building under construction some time ago. The fall was life threatening, but before he could be moved, the police had to come and clear the road because their staff had double-parked,” she recalled.

Another resident, son of ace Lagos lawyer, Tunji Braithwaite and Managing Partner, Tunji Braithwaite & Company, Olumide Braithwaite, also expressed dissatisfaction over the phenomenon.

“No one says they should not park their cars, but at least, they should do so in a reasonable manner so that others could go in and out!” Braithwaite fumed.

According to George Utomhim, legal solicitor to Animex Industries and Taslim Elias residents the unwholesome development is paralysing other businesses in the neighbourhood and residents no longer have easy access to their compounds.

“We’ve written to LASTMA, Bar Beach Police Station and the Chairman of Iru-Victoria Island Local Council Development Area. The LCDA Chairman has confirmed they have tried their best on this matter. Every attempt to make these corporate organisations understand that the residents and business community of Taslim Elias Close are suffering, has fallen on deaf ears,” Utomhim said.


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