Ladipo traders, food company convert road to mechanic workshop, trailer park
• Motorists lament gridlocks, disorderliness of truck drivers
It is not yet Uhuru for motorists plying the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, especially at the Toyota Bus Stop axis, as they continue to witness traffic logjams caused by auto spare part traders who have converted a part of the road to mechanic workshop, and a confectionery company branch of Olam International, which has also converted a portion of the road to truck park.
The Guardian had, on June 8, reported the activities of Ladipo traders on the road and that of OK Foods, but the parent company of OK Foods, Olam International, has failed to make a move to stop trucks from parking on the service lane.
Despite the gradual ease of the lockdown as announced by the state government, which mandated markets to alternate days of opening between food marts and non-food marts, it has been a daily tale of agony in the route on weekdays.
Currently, the auto spare part market opens on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but on all days of the week, activities go on, spilling over to the access route where container-laden trucks are parked along the road waiting for their contents to be offloaded.
This usually leads to traffic snarls and a backlog extending beyond Iyana-Isolo, as road users are stranded, trying to navigate through to the Airport Road or Oshodi, while construction work continues on the main carriageway.
The gridlock does not only affect those going towards those locations; road users trying to access offices along the route like The Guardian, SCOA Motors, and NAFDAC are also stranded, spending nearly an hour in a passage that should not take five minutes.
The bad situation is worsened by OK Foods, whose factory is beside the market at Toyota Bus Stop, as articulated vehicles going in and out of the company are parked indiscriminately on the service lane, days and nights.
A road user, Sanmi Bada, said it is gross indiscipline for a company to continue to hold other road users to ransom. He said: “I left my office and headed towards the airport axis on Monday evening at about 9:00p.m. and spent over 40 minutes at the front of The Guardian Newspapers office because a particular trailer has not been cleared for entrance into OK Foods premises.
“That they do this with impunity and disregard for the fact that they are sited beside a major newspaper in the country is appalling. I am even happy that you are asking for my reaction. That there is a logjam at Toyota Bus Stop is not as a result of construction work alone. OK Foods is also responsible. Something has to be done urgently, and the Lagos State government should checkmate activities of the Ladipo spare part, boys with stringent sanctions against defaulters of sanitation and COVID-19 rules.”
Narrating his ordeal, another motorist, Tochukwu Ojemba, expressed displeasure with the disorderliness at the bus stop by truck drivers. “I don’t understand what is going on here every time. This road stretching to Oshodi has been fixed. There should be no need for traffic here anymore. But what I notice is OK Foods’ nonchalant attitude and lack of organisational skills to curtail the excesses of their truck drivers.
“How can you have over five trucks parked on the road with some heavy-duty trucks trying to turn in this narrow service lane? I think it high time the authority called them to order.”
When The Guardian approached the firm and spoke with its head of security last Wednesday, the security man on ground threatened to beat the reporter for taking pictures. When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Olufemi Filade, promised to do something about motorists’ complaints.
The Guardian also sent a mail to Olam through email@example.com, the mail the company had earlier used to communicate with The Guardian, but as of the time of filing this report, there was no response from the company.