By Theodore Opara & Kingsley Adegboye
THE Federal and Lagos State governments seem to have abandoned motorists and commuters plying the Apapa-Oshodi and Badagry expressways to their fate, as the roads have remained on lockdown, due to gridlock caused by articulated vehicles in the last one week.
For some days now, the chaotic traffic situation on Apapa-Oshodi expressway and all other adjoining roads leading to Apapa has been nightmarish, as commuters and motorists now navigate every nook and cranny to access their destinations.
This is because the articulated truck and tanker drivers have taken over the entire dual carriageway of the expressway, whether heading to Apapa or returning from Apapa.
The harrowing traffic situation, which seems to have defied all traffic management solutions, has led to Apapa-bound commuters, motorists and other road users to spend the better part of their day in traffic, as most of them spend between four and six hours before getting to their destinations.
In the same vein, those returning from Apapa spend several hours in traffic from Apapa end, while those who cannot withstand the stress and frustration from the two-way gridlock decide to sleep in their offices.
Particularly, for residents of Apapa and those who work in Apapa or have one form of a business transaction or the other to do in Apapa, the last few days on the ever-busy expressway have been very harrowing.
Meanwhile, signs that the traffic situation in the port city will soon abate remain bleak as no government agency is seen to be controlling the chaotic situation since the withdrawal of the Presidential Task Team from the expressway.
Similarly, Mobile policemen, officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LATSMA, Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, and other security officials saddled with the responsibility of ensuring the free flow of traffic, have abandoned their duty posts.
Every day people are meant to navigate the chaotic situation to get to their offices and homes.
Besides, not only have houses been deserted, offices have been closed down due to the difficulty in accessing the area.
In the last few days, those who access Apapa through Oshodi-Mile 2 axis have been going through the gridlock which starts from Ijesha Bus-Stop in most cases.
Motorists lament gridlock
Motorists, who spoke to Vanguard described the traffic situation on the expressway as a harrowing experience.
Narrating his experience, a car dealer at Berger Yard, Kunle Abiodun said: “I am short of words. I have spent over five hours on a distance that I ought to have spent less than five minutes from Rainbow Bus Stop to Berger Yard Bus Stop. I missed my appointments and I have wasted a whole day due to the traffic gridlock.”
Also speaking, a businessman, Mr. Chinedu Uchendu, who described the situation as unfortunate, said: “It is as if we don’t have a government. How can one spend a day inhaling fumes from these trailers and tankers? Those plying the road are endangering their lives.
“I ran a check on my health recently and discovered the accumulation of fumes in my system. I don’t smoke, but my doctor said it could be a result of the fumes.”
On his part, Director of the Safety Beyond Borders, Mr. Patrick Adenusi, berated the Federal and Lagos State Governments for failing to carry out repair works on the expressway.
Adenusi said: “To be mild is to say that government has failed its citizens, given what people go through on this road daily.
“This road is the gateway to the ports where the goods come from. The hardship on this road is felt across the length and breadth of the country because the cost of transferring the goods will be borne by the people and that alone is stressful to citizens.
“It is a shame that the President and the Vice President will give marching orders at different times and nothing has changed concerning the gridlock. For how long will this continue? Do we have to bring foreigners to come to our rescue?
“The government should place value on the health of its citizens. People are dying due to the gridlock, their health is affected. I am ashamed that we are still talking about Apapa traffic. It now looks as if the gridlock is a citizen of this country.”