Lagos helpless as traders, mechanics take over service lane, expressway
Motorists and commuters in Lagos are worried that mechanics have taken over the newly constructed service lane between Ilasamaja and Toyota Bus Stop along Apapa- Oshodi Expressway.
They are worried that illegal operators have turned the service lane into parking lots and workshops.
What was thought to be temporary, has become a permanent feature in the area due to negligence on the part of authorities.
Since the service lane was rehabilitated, motorists are having a hectic time using it. They have to contend for space with trucks, vehicles and tricyclists, who parked indiscriminately without recourse to other road users.
Trucks are parked at Ilasa, Iyana Isolo, and Five Star down to Toyota Bus Stop, obstructing traffic.
When challenged, they threatened to block the whole road and some time, their activities caused gridlock that last for many hours.
The gridlock does not only affect vehicles and motorists going towards Toyota Bus Stop, road users trying to access offices along the route are affected too, sometimes being trapped on one spot for hours.
The situation is compounded by the spill over of commercial activities at the Toyota auto spare parts market to the service lane, where container-laden trucks are parked waiting for their contents to be offloaded right on the road.
Consequently, businesses have continued to suffer, while commuting has become a herculean task, with the trucks already destorying portions of the newly constructed road.
Some of the drivers told The Guardian that companies along the axis owned the trucks.
One of them, who gave his name simply as Marouf, said they always remain on the road till they are given passage to drive in and offload.
Another one, who spoke in confidence, said the situation would continue because no parking lots were provided for trucks.
But a motorist, Kayode Afis said, indiscriminate parking on the road would make nonsense of government’s efforts to put the road in good condition.
The Guardian had severally reported on activities of motor spare parts traders on the road as well as the food company that is notorious for parking trucks on the road, thus obstructing traffic.
Despite occasional intervention by government agencies, the situation soon returns to normal and this happens everyday.
For instance, after The Guardian reported the matter in June and August 2020, men of the Lagos State Task Force came to the Ladipo Auto spare parts market to tow vehicles off the road, but three weeks after, mechanics returned and have remained on the road ever since.
The Ladipo Market Task Force also charges customers coming into the market a sum of N1000 to park their vehicle on the road.
Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Olukayode Popoola, had also lamented that indiscriminate parking on the service lane has remained a headache for the ministry.
He said the ministry has tried its best to evacuate parked trucks on the road.
He said: “ We have involved the Lagos Task force, still they remain adamant. I don’t know why they will turn the road that the Federal Government spent a lot of money to do into garages and mechanic workshops.
“We have towed some parked vehicles from Toyota Bus Stop to Ilasa and still they are not deterred. We will keep enforcing non-parking rules on the service lane. We will do our best, but you know we cannot be on the road 24 hours a day,” he added.
Also, Lagos State government has lamented its inability to enforce the law against residents and traders who have converted some of the major roads in the state to car parks.
Speaking with The Guardian, the Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotoso frowned on the call for government to enforce the ‘no park’ on the road.
He said: “Why are people always talking about the government every day; if somebody has a headache, he will call the government, people who cannot clean their gutter, also call on the government and journalists don’t ask the people to show some responsibility.
“Why are they calling on the government as if it’s the government that is parking the vehicles on the road.
“Why are we talking about enforcement by the government that has no police, no military; you are asking the government to stop Okada from plying the highway; why don’t you journalists do some work? Why do we behave like that, why should everything be about enforcement?
“I am sure you want the government to come and enforce no parking in front of The Guardian.
“So, is it the government’s job for people to be responsible? We don’t have the police, so how do we enforce it?
Asked if the government is helpless, he said: “What I am saying is that citizens should show responsibility and as journalists, you should make them do that. Why call on the government all the time?” Omotosho added.
When The Guardian reached out to the President General, Ladipo Amalgamated Automobile Spare Parts Market Association, Jude Chikere Nwankwo, he promised to reach out when he returned from his trip.
However, he was yet to do so at press time.