By Olasunkanmi Akoni, Ebun Sessou and Aderonke Adeyeri
Residents of Lagos have expressed mixed reactions over the plan by the state government to phase out the yellow commercial buses popularly called danfo. While some of the residents believed it would create more hardship for them, others argued that it was a welcome development.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had last Monday announced plans by his administrations to withdraw danfo buses from Lagos roads to reposition road transportation system in Lagos in line with its megacity status.
The Governor noted that the development will evolve a more efficient, well-structured and world class mass transportation system that would facilitate easy movement within the city adding that well-structured transportation mode would be put in place to address the challenge.
He said, “when I wake up in the morning and see all these yellow buses, Okada and all kinds of tricycles and we claim we are a mega city, that is not true and we must first acknowledge that that is a faulty connectivity that we are running. Having accepted that, we have to look for the solution and that is why we want to banish yellow buses this year. We must address the issue of connectivity that makes people to move around with ease and that is where we are going”, he said.
In their immediate reactions, some residents expressed apprehension that the state government would not be able to provide an effective transportation system in view of the population of Lagos
A student, Babtunde Adedeji, lamented that, the development will further create havoc in the city. According to him, “what is the alternative to those buses? Government should get the necessary alternatives first before it bans those buses. I would rather subscribe to enforcing some simple regulations on the drivers and their operational rules among others. Banning those buses without providing an alternative would put a lot of people into hardship and create more havoc on our depressed economy.
Another resident, Nwosu Chukwuemeka, said, “the Lagos state government seems not to care about her citizens. Despite the situation of the economy, the only thing a governor is concerned with is, “Mega city”. Will the so called Mega city put food on my table? I am a fashion designer by profession, but due to the economic crisis, I have combined it with commercial driving which I have been doing for a while. How will I feed my family of four, my aged mother and younger ones, if my means of livelihood is taken away? Governor Akinwunmi Ambode should think well otherwise the crime rate in Lagos will increase, I promise.
For Peter Kehinde, an artisan, he said, “the Lagos state government should know that this can’t work in Lagos state. The Yellow buses are more efficient than waiting and depending on BRT long queues. How many modern buses can Lagos afford? Also, this will lead to many losing their source of livelihood and more hardship for the average Nigerians.
Also, a journalist, Chima James, noted that, the idea is wrong. “I am so disappointed that the government could think in this direction. Regardless of what the Megacity syndrome is all about, it is important to know that many people will be rendered jobless and the state will be in disarray. Already, the country is experiencing serious hardship, there is hunger in the land and if the next step is to further frustrate Nigerians and subject them to pains, it is unfortunate. Many families will suffer. I hope, this is a joke because it will not work.
Meanwhile, some people said, it is a good development. A civil servant, Olakunle Adebesin, said,
“It is a welcome development considering many lives that have been lost due to the recklessness of “Danfo”drivers on Lagos roads. Many of them do not understand what traffic rules and signs are meant for.
Another civil servant who would not want his name mentioned said, “What Lagos state government is trying to do is a welcome development. There is need for reformation in the transportation system in the state. There are a lot of ills in the system and the only approach is to be proactive or else it will be a painful story. The fact that there is increase in insecurity calls for proactive step, there is need to save the lives of Lagosians.