Some pedestrians in Lagos have said that they continued risking their lives crossing highways on foot because many of the footbridges had become safe haven for thieves, beggars and traders.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the pedestrians said they also
avoided using footbridges as most either didn’t have lights at night or too far from bus stops.
Mr Vincent Mefor, who was spotted on Ojota footbridge, told NAN that the bridges were fast becoming a trap for innocent pedestrians.
According to him, apart from the presence of traders and destitute seeking alms, petty robbers were already turning the bridges to a safe haven.
“I think government should do something fast about all these persons crowding these bridges.
“But it is a pity that the purpose is gradually being defeated because of the fear of being robbed there.
“Often time, people will loose their personal effects there, especially handsets, without knowing how it happened,” he said.
The concerned pedestrian added that some traders were also clogging the bridges by displaying their wares there.
Mefor noted that this, often times, led to users bumping into themselves, thereby creating a platform for petty robbery to thrive.
He called on government to wake up to its responsibility by putting in place special taskforce that would monitor and ensure that these bridges were cleared of traders and destitute.
A petty trader on Fadeyi footbridge, who spoke to NAN on condition of anonymity, said that she was on the bridge after losing her shop during a recent demolition exercise by the state government.
According to her, she is using the bridge to pick up the remains of her losses, while on the lookout for a more befitting place to display her wares.
NAN reports that the pedestrian bridge at Oluti along the Badagry expressway had been abandoned because it was situated far from the bus stop.
The specious bridge has also become home to destitute and a dreaded criminals.
One of the occupants of the bridge, Aliyu Babadede, a vegetable farmer, told NAN that he had been in the place for more than two years.
According to him. the proximity of the footbridge to the vegetable farms where he works as a labourer makes the place attractive.
“The bridge is lying fallow because it is not at the place were people could use it to cross to Ado-Shuba end, as its other end emptied into the vegetable gardens,” Babandede said.
A NAN correspondent who visited the pedestrian bridge at Fadeyi on Ikorodu road reports that traders were seen selling their goods there.
Some of the traders showcased their goods in wheel barrows, while others hung theirs on the railings.
Also, motorcyclists were seen riding their bikes up the bridge to cross over to the other side of the road.
One of the riders, who simply gave his name as Asuquo, told NAN that he rode up the bridge because it was convenient for him.
“It is easier for me to get to the other side of the road, instead of going through the long route, ” he said.
In her reaction, Special Adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Works and Infrastructure, Mrs Aramide Adeyoye, told NAN that government had built several footbridges in Lagos in the last few years for the comfort and safety of pedestrians.
She said that the ministry was partnering with the Office of the Civic Engagement to make residents understand why they must use footbridges meant to prevent accidents and safe lives.
“It is everyone’s civic responsibility to use the pedestrian bridges where it has been provided,” she said.
She added that additional security and lightings were being deployed around footbridges by the state government to boost the confidence and safety of residents in using the infrastructure.
“A lot of pedestrian bridges have been put in place in the last two years in particular.
“And every pedestrian bridge we do, we ensure that it is illuminated with generators, the challenge is getting our people to use the bridges.
“People must constantly get used to the fact that pedestrian bridges are places they must use for vehicular traffic and not area where you put markets and begin to sell your wares,” she said.
“I think the problem is that people don’t feel comfortable to want to use pedestrian bridges because they think that either somebody is going to attack them,” Adeyoye said.
Adeyoye said that security was being beefed up with the stationing of men of Rapid Response Squad around the pedestrian bridges.