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A menace of rejected trucks


nemesis_metroHE had just driven out of the Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo campus where he went to make enquiries and veered into the service lane towards Mile Two, when Tunde Ajala noticed, he had a rear flat tyre.
He slowed down and began to look for a space to park and change the tyre before he continued his trip to Mile Two.

But after 100, 200, 300 and even more metres, he could not find a space in which to park and change the tyre.

Every metre of space on the service lane from Iyana-Isolo towards Ilasa and further on to Mile Two had been taken over by long-abandoned, mostly-imported disused trucks and chassis of cannibalized cars and buses.

“It was not until close to half a kilometre that I was able to see a small space into which I squeezed and changed my tyre,” he was to complain later.

What he experienced is rather common to motorists on many major roads in the Lagos metropolis whose roadsides have been converted to dumping grounds for disused, imported trucks and other vehicles the owners of which could not keep anywhere else.

Perhaps, the two sides of the Mile Two -Oshodi Expressway most clearly illustrate the unsightly scenario the illegal dumping of old, abandoned vehicles constitute to the Lagos environment.

There is hardly an uncluttered 20-metre space from Cele Express Bus Stop to Ijesha Bus Stop.

All available space has been taken over by all manner of trucks, tankers and other vehicles most of them bearing foreign numbers and which have been abandoned to the elements for years.

Because of this development, pedestrians no longer find it safe using the sidewalks that were specifically designed to save them from being hit by reckless drivers.

The abandoned trucks have encroached on their paths and such pedestrians risk getting too close to the pathway of drivers.

Where they could have walked along with some measure of safety have become dumpsites for broken -down vehicles and leftovers from cannibalized imported trucks.

Concerned Lagosians now watch with dismay as such illegally-abandoned vehicles have not only brought discomfort and danger to motorists and other road-users but also threaten the beautification programme of the Lagos State government.

A security man at a car sales outlet near Ijesha Bus Stop close to where many of such vehicles had been dumped told The Guardian: “Some people come from time to time to look at them. Sometimes, they bring mechanics to take away some parts, may be to use elsewhere. But, they have been abandoned for years and I do not think anyone will buy them again.”

From Iyana-Isolo to Ilasa and beyond, scores of such vehicles dot both sides of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.

Many have been there for over five years, often serving as hideouts for hoodlums who unleash havoc on unsuspecting innocent citizens under the cover of the night.

At the Toyota area of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, what would have been spaces by the roadsides are littered with such vehicles, most of them in various stages of decay.

A resident said: “Abandoned vehicles are so many in this area that I sometimes wonder if the owners are still interested in them. The funniest part of it is that if the government is about to tow them away, the owners would now show up. During the day, street urchins normally find in them ample accommodation to idle away their time.”

The situation is the same along some stretches of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road.

There are many of them at Seven & Eight Bus Stop, Junction and also towards Oshodi, immediately after Charity Bus Stop.

It is the same story in Mushin area, where many streets are used for parking broken- down, disused and abandoned vehicles.

In many of such streets, two motorists, no matter the sizes of their vehicles, can drive past each other.

One has to veer into another street and wait until the other passes.

A resident in the area, Gabriel Nosa said: “The situation in Mushin is very frustrating in that motorists cannot find places to park their functional vehicles again. At times, when they do not have places to park, you find them parking even on the middle of the road, not minding the obstruction it might cause to other motorists.”

Particularly hit is the Ladipo Road, where all the available places are used as parking lots, which has plunged the area into traffic chaos that sometimes trap motorists for hours.

Another resident, Adebola Peter said: “The most annoying part of it is that the vehicles that have contributed to the traffic jam are no longer functional.

“Sometimes, you find that some of these vehicles have been parked for over five years and the owners have no hope of repairing them..

“Whenever I see such vehicles, I often wonder why the owners cannot sell it instead of parking it. Or, are their owners still planning to put them on the road? “Sometimes, it is worse in the inner streets within the area. The abandoned vehicles adorn both sides of the streets.

“There was a day, a danfo driver was trying to beat the traffic on Ladipo Road and diverted at Palm Avenue Junction to enable him come out at Five Star, but he did not know he was making a mistake.

“Both sides of the street he drove into were littered with broken-down vehicles, leaving a very narrow track as road where motorists have to move with care or they would collide.

” At a point, a frustrated motorist left his vehicle in the middle of the road and went into a house nearby to visit somebody.

It was about an hour later when some people intervened forcefully and pushed some of the abandoned vehicles away and the traffic began to move gradually.

“But that was not before many had turned back to take another route,” he added.

In the Ikeja area, the situation is no better as the perennial traffic jam on Medical Road, for example, has been blamed on abandoned vehicles on both sides of the road.

Another resident said: “Most homes do not have space for tenants to park their vehicles. That is why our roadsides have been turned to parking lots. Another thing is that some owners of these vehicles are no longer able to maintain them. The only place they can leave them is the roadsides. Perhaps, their intention is that they may have money to put it back on the road when the economy improves.

“Perhaps, the government has to provide means of recycling those vehicles or provide spaces where the owners can park them while they still remained their property or our roadsides would still be congested with non-functional vehicles,” he said.

At Oshodi, a broken-down mass-transit bus and trunk of an articulated vehicle have become shelters from rain and sun for miscreants.

A stretch of Iyana-Oworo to Third Mainland Bridge also suffers the same burden.

However, Lagosians are calling on the government to look into the issue of dumping of imported and disused vehicles on the roadsides.

“For one thing, it is environmentally unacceptable that some of the abandoned vehicles are choking the ornamental trees planted by the Lagos State government”, Frank Ajegbo, a businessman, said.

He continued: “Those who park such old trucks on the roadsides are not helping the efforts to make Lagos metropolis a truly clean city. The dumped trucks and abandoned vehicles are an eyesore and the government should remove them.”

He also called for the reactivation of the government facility, which would have crushed all disused and abandoned vehicles following which the scrap would have been recycled for other uses.

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