By Mike Ebonugwo, Evelyn Usman and Bose Adelaja
This is the concluding part of the report, When driving against traffic is the only way, which was published on Friday
WHEN questioned why they gamble with the life-endangering driving against the traffic on the ever-busy expressway, many of the motorists were quick to attribute their action to “total stand still” traffic from Second Rainbow to Berger and beyond, resulting in a drastically reduced number of trips per day for them.
A commercial bus driver, Mr. Jubril Abdu-Gafaru, said he acquired his bus on hire for N1.5m and is expected to make a weekly return of N50,000. “My vehicle is routed and it’s not possible for me to make a living if I don’t drive against the traffic. This is because if I fail to meet up the owner of the bus threatens to take the vehicle from me,” he informed.
Another motorist Mr. Ridwan Ajani also said he was compelled to drive against traffic to meet up with his family upkeep.
He said: “I am an obedient citizen and was initially against one-way driving, but with the present crazy traffic situation along that route, I had no choice but to join those doing it. Before now, I used to make ten trips daily, but this has reduced to three. My three children have dropped out of school, while my wife is critically ill and I have no other business. So, tell me, why I won’t drive against traffic?”
Some commuters who patronise one-way commercial vehicle operators claimed they do so based on different reasons. Madam Tope Adedeji said she resorted to doing so because: “I must get to Wharf before 7.30 am otherwise I risk losing the job. The only option is to join the vehicles plying one way to Coconut and then take a commercial motorcycle to Wharf.”
With one-way driving by commercial buses now seemingly permissible on that route, it has consequently attracted garage touts, hawkers and road side traders. They claimed that their businesses have been affected by the lingering gridlock and so have decided to shift base with the one-way commercial vehicle operators. Touts operating as ticketing officials of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, have become increasingly visible on the one-way route since most commercial motorists have abandoned the regular route.
One of the ticketing officials simply called “Orofo” said he was sent there by his union leaders. According to him: “My Oga asked me to shift to this side because the gridlock has affected our daily delivery and the only option is to go to where we will make more money”.