Mile 12 Market: Foodstuff Depot Or Public Nuisance?
MILE 12 and its environs have become an open wound and a nuisance to commuters and residents alike. Sadly, it seems the more Nigerians cry out for urgent redress to be carried out in the area, the worse the situation becomes. Aside the heaps of refuse that litter almost everywhere in the market; the perennial traffic situation along the route is a source of anguish for many commuters.
Speaking with The Guardian, Dr. Shukurat Salisu-Olatunji, a public health doctor, warned that Mile 12 was a ticking health time bomb with the unabated, indiscriminate open dumping of refuse within an area with high human traffic and activity.
Salisu-Olatunji noted that if nothing was done quickly, it could lead to a spread of highly infectious diseases especially vector borne diseases and diseases spread from contamination of food and water.
“Diseases like cholera and salmonellosis could easily spread if a certain level of sanitation is not adhered to,” she added.
Mrs. Bose Akinpelu, a mother of three, trades on onions in the market. She told The Guardian that she doesn’t allow her children to come and stay with her in the market after school anymore after they fell ill several times from several infections. According to her, the traders keep the market as clean as humanly possible but the nature of the items sold there ensures that it couldn’t be clean all the time.
The market is notorious for causing heavy traffic on that axis. Sometimes, the traffic starts from before Owode-Onirin and ends as soon as you pass Kosofe, thereby making a journey of less than five minutes take over an hour. Meanwhile, the traffic eases up the moment you pass Kosofe with no impediments observed.
Miss Tolulope Kehinde works with a private firm at Ikeja. She told The Guardian that she usually leaves her home at 5:30am in a bid to avoid the Mile 12 traffic but no matter how early she leaves, she always encounters traffic there.
“The danfo buses and the traders are responsible for the traffic there. They block the service lanes, park on the express to pick passengers, thereby reducing a three-lane road to just one lane for other road users wade through,” she said.
Kehinde’s views were corroborated by many others interviewed by The Guardian who maintained that the danfo drivers break traffic rules and regulations at will.
Mr. Usman Mohammed blamed the situation on the LASTMA officials posted to the area alleging that they “encourage the danfo drivers in their brazen show of shame by allowing them park on the express to pick passengers after they had been ‘tipped’ by these drivers.”
He added: “The danfo drivers capitalise on the traffic that they usually cause and hike the cost of transport to astronomical heights.”
A bus driver who simply identified himself as Tayo said they usually stop on the express to pick passengers because there was nowhere else for them to park, adding that passengers usually stood by the express.
But Mrs. Bola Ajao, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of LASMA faulted this claim in a telephone interview with The Guardian. She said the officials really tries their best, noting that the ratio of danfo buses to one officer is a yawning gap.
“The buses are definitely more than the officers and they are usually difficult to control. The officers are trained to do their duty but no one is orientating the drivers to obey laid down traffic laws and regulations,” she said.
She faulted the claim that the officers desert the Mile 12 axis at night, saying a 24-hour shift is maintained by LASTMA because of the on-going road construction in the route.
The danfo drivers are not alone in causing traffic gridlock in the axis, as the trailers that come to drop goods in the market are equally culpable. The Guardian observed that most times, they park on the service lane. When the market is filled up, they simply stay put on the road waiting for the trailers inside to finish offloading their goods.
It was also observed that although a huge LAWMA truck is stationed just outside the fence of the market, some traders still dump do not care to drop their refuse properly.
The chairman, Mile 12 Market Perishables Association, Alhaji Haruna Mohammed, absolved his members of obstructing traffic in the area, stressing that Ketu was worse in his opinion. He noted that the danfo drivers should be held responsible for the constant traffic as they block the service lanes as well as the express, just to pick passengers.
Mohammed said that traders selling outside the market were not members of his association, as he would never allow such. He, however, alleged that “they always claim to pay their dues to some government officials and so feel they have a right to be there.”
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