Friday, 1st December 2023

Motorists lament as mechanics, keke takeover Toyota service lane

By Bertram Nwannekanma, Eniola Daniel and Victor Madu
20 July 2023   |   5:26 am
Motorists plying the Apapa- Oshodi expressway have lamented the takeover of the Toyota-Ladipo section by mechanics and keke riders, thereby hindering free flow of vehicular and human traffic.

Mechanics working at a vehicle at the service land… yesterday PHOTO: ENIOLA DANIEL

Motorists plying the Apapa- Oshodi expressway have lamented the takeover of the Toyota-Ladipo section by mechanics and keke riders, thereby hindering free flow of vehicular and human traffic.

They are worried about government’s reluctance to wield the big stick against these mechanics, who have turned the service lane into parking lots and workshops, despite the presence of security operatives.

Apart from mechanics, tricycle operators and petty traders have also taken over part of the road. Despite occasional intervention by security operatives to dislodge them, the situation has remained chaotic.

It was learnt that the mechanics and some touts operating in the area also do brisk business by charging motorists N1, 000 before they could park along the road.

A motorist, Mojeed Ahmed, lamented that most of the people patronising the mechanics, park indiscriminately without considering other road users, thereby subjecting them to difficulties.

Another motorist, Ayomide Emmanuel, said the gridlock does not only affect vehicles and motorists heading towards Toyota bus stop, commuters trying to access offices along the route are also affected, as they are oftentimes, trapped on one spot for several hours.

The situation is worsened by commercial activities at the ever busy Toyota auto spare parts market, where container-laden trucks also compete with commuters for space to park while waiting for their contents to be offloaded.

Consequently, businesses have continued to suffer, while commuters groan. Some of the drivers, who also parked indiscriminately on the road, said companies along the axis owned their trucks.

One of them, who identified himself as Marouf, said they always remain on the road till they are given passage to drive in and offload.

Last year, Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences Enforcement Unit, also known as Task force, was in the area to restore sanity, but the mechanics, who are members of Ladipo auto spare parts traders returned to the streets, after the exercise.

Reacting, a mechanic, who simply identified himself as Samuel, said influx of motorists, who could not go into the market for repairs, was partly responsible for the chaotic situation.

He said: “Most of our clients are motorists, who could not go inside the market due to the lack of car parks. Most business owners resort to parking on the roadsides. Some also use the opportunity to fix their vehicles, since they can easily get the vehicles parts.”

When contacted, President General, Ladipo Amalgamated Automobile Spare Parts Market Association, Jude Chikere Nwankwo, said: “We are trying to control the situation. We don’t have a parking space in the market, hence, many returned to the road after dispersing them.

“Former Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode promised to give us a place for parking, but that didn’t happen. We also asked that a pedestrian bridge be constructed at Toyota Bus Stop, but nothing has been done till date. We have been talking to the present administration about the same issues. Ladipo Market is a big market that needs a parking lot.”

Spokesperson for the Task force, Abdulraheem Gbadeyan, said the agency is limited in resources and number of officers.

“It costs us a lot to carry out an operation. We have cleared Ladipo twice this year and are working in other parts of Lagos at the moment, but we will revisit there in due time,” he said. The Guardian had severally reported activities of motor spare parts traders on the road.