Abuja – The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has blamed the traffic gridlock caused by a recent religious event in Abuja on a last minute change in venue.
Spokesman of the Corps, Mr Bisi Kazeem, said that the change in venue disrupted the initial traffic management plans of the FRSC for the event.
Between April 13 and 14, the Abuja city centre and environs were on lockdown by members of the Tijjaniya Islamic sect, who were celebrating Maulud Nabiyyi, the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The event held at the National Mosque located in the Central Business District.
The mammoth crowd of sect members, who came in their thousands from different parts of the country, spilled over to the Eagle Square about two kilometres from the Mosque.
They set up camps on major roads and streets around the venue resulting in a traffic gridlock that left residents and motorists groaning.
Kazeem said the leadership of the sect notified the FRSC ahead of time through a letter, and “adequate planning” was made to manage the situation.
“The problem was that some of them came in the evening and at night, and they were many.
“What actually disrupted the plan was that the event was initially planned for the National Stadium, and resources were deployed to make sure that the roads leading to the stadium were adequately covered.
“But all of a sudden, when they were denied use of the stadium or something like that, they decided to trek to the Eagle Square.
“This change in plan would need change in tactics and traffic control system arrangement, and this momentarily affected our initial plan,” he said.
The FRSC spokesman said the Corps rose to the occasion by issuing traffic alerts and press releases to inform residents and motorists of the situation.
Describing the situation as regrettable, Kazeem, however, said it was an eye opener for the FRSC to avert a re-occurrence.(NAN)