Commuters lament as Kara traders, ram sellers encroach on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, compound traffic
Lagos-bound commuters, on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, have lamented the worsening traffic situation at Kara Cattle market section of the road.
The expressway was noted for its intractable traffic situation occasioned by the commencement of work on kilometre 0-5 of the Expressway, but the recent encroachment by cattle and ram sellers, who have relocated to the section has worsened the situation.
In the past months, some traders relocated near the expressway after Ogun State Waste Management Authority (OGWAMA) led by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Environment, Mr. Ola Oresanya, cleaned up the cattle market, to ensure its smooth operation without compromising the environment.
But with the Eid-el Kabir celebration near the corner, more ram sellers have found the space left by the Federal Government for the construction of the new toll plaza and bridge as their new haven, thereby increasing trading activities and worsening the traffic situation on the axis.
The situation took a worrisome dimension yesterday and sent a strong message of what the week will look like, as traffic from OPIC turning, stretched to the middle of Long Bridge as a result of trading activities along that axis.
A commuter, Samuel Odeyemi, who was held in traffic for hours, lamented his inability to meet his 1:00 p.m. appointment at Ikeja, even though he left Mowe early enough for the trip.
Odeyemi said he was surprised to find out that the road was relatively freer after Kara Cattle market because people were buying rams and were also crossing the road with their wares, thereby slowing down vehicular movement.
According to him, it used to be the situation in the past, but considering the fact that reconstruction work is ongoing at around Secretariat to 7-Up, which is already impacting traffic, such trading activities should not be allowed.
Another motorist, Momoh Orie, called on the authorities to relocate the ram traders to avoid compounding the situation.
He said there is no how trading activities will not affect traffic, especially on Mondays, considering that the Kara section of the road is not yet reconstructed to reduce the volume of traffic on the expressway.
Orie urged OGWAMA to live up to its responsibilities to clear up the area without wasting time.
But a ram seller, Alhaji Adebayo Nurudeen, said they are taking advantage of the volume of traffic on the axis to display their rams for Moslems, ahead of the Eid-el Kabir celebration.
He said most of the traders have places of business, while others are occasional dealers and the Kara Cattle marker provides a good site for business.
Reacting, Oreasanya, said the traders are taking advantage of the vacuum created after the place was cleared for the contractor handling the reconstruction of the expressway.
He stressed that the last time they cleaned the area, the traders were moved back and they expect them to stay back but they may have returned since nature abhors a vacuum.
According to Oresanya, the Federal Ministry of Works should move in and take up the spaces they would need for the reconstruction so that Ogun State will continue its development of the area.
He said: “If you look at the construction of the Lagos Ibadan Expressway, you could see that that area is one of the portions, possibly the last portion they want to do. So, we are working with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in that area. The last time we cleaned up the area, we moved the traders back and we expected them to stay back, but nature abhors a vacuum. “You cannot just move traders back and leave the place unoccupied. Leaving the place unoccupied will tempt them to move back there. What we would have done is to be checking them on a daily basis, which is not really possible.
“So, we are working with Julius Berger and the Federal Ministry of Works. From the design, the toll gate is coming and they are going to extend that area almost 100 metres on either side of the area. We want to know the spaces they are going to occupy, so we are going to move in so much more into the cattle market itself.
“There is a design for that area, so we want the Federal Ministry of Works to move in and take care of spaces they would need for that reconstruction, then we will continue our development immediately.
“If we do anything right now we might jeopardise the main design they have for that area. So that is why we are being patient with the Federal Ministry of Works to take the portion of land they will need in that area and it is going to affect some of the fuel stations in the area. They may have to leave the area and even the cattle market and the rest of them and they are going to be constructed underneath Kara Cattle market and there will be a bypass under the bridge by the river bank.
“So, there is going to be a major construction in that area. We have not abandoned the area, we are just waiting for the Federal Ministry of Works to come in and start the construction and we will tidy up, so we have to come from behind.”
Also, South-West Zone Director, Highways, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Adedamola Kuti, an engineer, said works will soon start on the axis.
He promised to look into the situation with a view to checking the menace of traders in the Kara Cattle market section of the expressway.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.