By EBELE ORAKPO
Traffic on Lagos roads is becoming unbearable! A nightmare! When are we going to be delivered from it?” asked Joe, a commuter in the CMS-bound bus as the driver tried to manoeuvre through the early morning traffic snarl.
“This is heaven compared to Apapa-Oshodi Expressway traffic. That one na die!” said Iyke.
“Ah, don’t even go there. That one no get part two. Absolutely none like it!” exclaimed Ken.
Asked Iyke:”You mean it is worse than this one moving at snail’s speed?
“You said moving at snail’s speed ba? At least it is moving. The Apapa traffic is mostly at a standstill for hours on end. Many workers in that area sleep in their offices and most of them have abandoned their vehicles for commercial vehicles which usually take them half way and then they do the rest on Footwagon or Legedez benz,” said Mercy.
Said Iyke: “It’s good for the health.”
“Yes, but not this forced exercise,” replied Ken.
“I understand that the gridlock is caused by fuel tankers and containers. Why can’t government do something about it?” asked Iyke.
Replied Mercy: “They have tried several times in their usual haphazard manner. They make laws without plans of enforcing them. The people obey for a few days and go back to their old ways. The governor ordered them out last week and everyone heaved a sigh of relief but within two days, they were back on the road.”
”If government means business, these guys will leave the road and if they refuse, their trucks will be towed and they pay heavily to get them back,” said Nike.
“How many will you tow? I think the best thing to do is to give them a time frame within which to move say between 1.00am and 5.00am so anyone caught before or after, will be dealt with. Alternatively, tell them the number of trucks that can load at a given time. Just pick one or two trucks from each dealer,” said Joe.
“That’s a good one but will it work? From what some of the drivers are saying, LASTMA, Police, Navy, Road Safety, etc., collect money from them on daily basis and that is why they are so emboldened,” said Iyke.
“In that case, government should call its officials to order. Anyone found wanting should be summarily dismissed. If they dismiss some, others will know they mean business,” said Nike.
“But why can’t they go to the place provided by government in Orile?”asked Pat.
“The water-logged area? They asked government to sand-fill the place before they can move,” replied Ken.
“Government should to do it for them? What about the tank farm owners? Why can’t they sand-fill the place? Government should call them for a meeting and tell them what to do and if they refuse; the farms should be shut down,” said Iyke.
“That’s a call for fuel scarcity and grounding of businesses. Again, these tank farm owners are untouchables. If you search very well, you will discover that some of them are politicians. The best solution will be to relocate the tank farms and allow us to contend with containers alone,” said Mercy.
“But how can tank farms and ports be located in the same axis in an economy that is import-dependent? That’s a recipe for disaster!” said Joe.
“I shudder to imagine what will happen if a tanker catches fire on that road with thousands of tankers stretched for kilometres and commercial and private vehicles sandwiched between them,” stated Mercy.
“God forbid! I can’t begin to imagine it. Sometimes two or three containers fall on the road and woe betide you if you are caught in the middle of it all,” said Nike.