Commuters lament, seek action over unending gridlock by OK Foods, Ladipo market trucks
The activities of traders at the auto spare-parts market, popularly known as Ladipo Market at Toyota bus-stop along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, presently undergoing reconstruction, have continued to inflict pain on commuters.
In spite of the gradual ease of the lockdown as announced by the state government, which mandated markets to alternate days of the opening between food marts and non-food marts, it has been a daily story of pain and agony along the route on weekdays, whose only assessable path is the service lane, as the main carriageway is undergoing rehabilitation.
Presently, the markets open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but on all days of the week, activities go on daily, spilling over to the access route where container-laden trucks are parked along the road waiting for their contents to be offloaded.
This leads to traffic snarl and a backlog extending beyond Iyana-Isolo as road users are stranded for hours trying to navigate through to Airport road or Oshodi. The gridlock does not only affect those going towards those locations, road users trying to access offices along the route like The Guardian are also stranded, spending nearly an hour in a passage that should not take up to five minutes.
The bad situation is further worsened by OK Foods, a subsidiary of Olams Food International, whose factory is beside the market at the Toyota bus stop, as the articulated vehicles going in and coming out of the company compound the gridlock along the route.
Last month, after observing the situation for a long period, The Guardian approached the firm and spoke with its head of security on duty on the day, who promised to do the needful and prevent trailers waiting for their turns to come into the factory from parking on the road.
In his words, “we do not allow trailers not yet cleared to enter the company. In fact, some trailer driver miss where they are going to and enter the company, before realising that they are at the wrong place, and turning back is usually difficult for them. That is why we have trucks outside, but we will do something. That, I can promise you, we are sorry,” he had said.
The security supervisor on duty apologized and left his seat to control the trucks, but before nightfall, there were other trucks parked on the road. When The Guardian visited the office again at the weekend, it was another security supervisor that was on duty. This time, the man claimed the trucks on the road were waiting for clearance and they can only allow them in when they get cleared.
When asked if another location can be provided as the holding bay for the trucks accessing their company, the security boss said it was not in his purview and felt unconcerned about the reckless abandon of the trucks on the service lane, leaving motorists to struggle for the only lane available.
It was also observed that there is an absence of traffic warders, especially the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LATSMA) officials to manage the congestion, leaving bus conductors and concerned citizens to manage the traffic as best as they could until their respective vehicles are off the scene.
A motorist, who spoke with The Guardian on condition of anonymity, said the company should be punished as their action is inhumane and disrespect for order. “How long will they continue to do this?”
Another motorist, Ola Jacob, said: “We can excuse the market leaders for failing to rein in traders and trucks offloading contents on the road but what can we say about a responsible corporate firm not managing the situation of the only access route available while the main road is being reconstructed. Even if they engage traffic marshals to make the roads passable, it is not too much of them to do.”
As at the time of this report, Olam did not respond to the mail sent by The Guardian.