Stranded Lagos residents hail anti-SARS protesters
It was total lockdown in the Ogba, Ikeja areas of Lagos, as virtually all major junctions and link roads were taken over and occupied by protesters.
Motorists from Ogba, who tried to link up Allen Roundabout or Oba Akran Avenue via Adeniyi Jones, could not make it to their destinations, as the Allen Roundabout had fallen under the total control of the activists.
Some had to do a detour to connect Oba Akran through a link road to the Guinness end of the road. It seemed better and provided some sort of relief. But the respite was short-lived as the motorists, no sooner than later, ran into another stagnant traffic. This was at the Ikeja end of the Oba Akran stretch. It started before the bridge that connects Oba Akran to Kodesoh Street.
In desperation, motorists made frantic U-turns and drove against traffic to reach their destinations either through Anifowoshe, Simbiat Abiola Road or the Oshodi-Ipaja expressway.
All these efforts, however, ended like previous efforts.
“No road,” sympathetic citizens warned ahead, as they tried to hit one another end.
There had been protests and there had been protests in Lagos but it can be said, arguably, that Lagos residents never had it so rough. No age or sex was spared as men, women and children were trapped in the orgy of traffic either as drivers, passengers or pedestrians.
Some metres away, the strained and drained passengers could hear sounds of music issuing from speakers mounted by the agitators, the reason for the traffic.
But rather than express anger at the protesters for getting them stranded, Lagos residents hailed and expressed unreserved support for the activists.
A commercial driver, Jide Emmanuel, said he had been in traffic along Oshodi-Iyana expressway for two hours from Kola to Ikeja Along.
He lamented the hardship the traffic jam caused but quickly hailed and expressed his support for the protest.
He said: “I don’t like what is happening, but if the protest comes out well, at the end of the day.
“Everybody supports and I support. I bought a bag of rice in the past for N12, 000; it is now almost N27, 000. Fuel just rises, nobody talks about it. Things are going wrong, and nobody is talking about them. I support the protest.”
He lamented that Nigerians had kept quiet for too long, while political leaders loot the commonwealth.
“I never pay my children school fees for almost one month, and some people collect billions. It’s very bad now. I can stay at home for one month as long as the end of the day, everything, will be okay,” the transporter added.
Also, Mrs. Kemi Omolojun expressed her support despite her claim that she had spent hours in traffic.
She was on her way to the Airport, when she ran into the traffic that halted her journey
She said: “Though it’s painful and stressful for the masses but I think it’s high time we spoke out. I have been trekking from Ilepo to Ikeja Along. I am okay with the protest. I think it’s high time we do things properly and there is no point going through the suffering and smiling mode.”
She urged protesters to keep safe and not to give up.
Herbert Abatti, who visited Lagos from Ogun State said he was not happy with the situation of things in the country; hence his support for the protesters.
He said he was on his way to pick his brother from the Airport but could not make it there. His frustration notwithstanding, he said he was happy with the protesters.
“The best is that we should face it; my advice to the President is that he should address the people. Let’s know where we are going.
On the way forward, he said the strike should continue until its aim is achieved.
Another stranded resident, Isong Peter, dispatch rider, he spent about three hours from Iyana Ipaja to Ikeja. He, however, expressed his support for the protesters.
Philomena George, a retiree from FAAN, said she was happy with the protesting youths. She lamented that graduates now stay with their parents at home and their parents, fed, housed, clothed, among others.
“Look at me, I’m trekking all the way from Iyana Ipaja to this present place (Ikeja). I wanted to go to airport for my pension benefits. I am crying deeply and I’m praying for the youths of this country that God will use them like David of old that kill Goliath because what they are passing through, some of them are hanging themselves. There is no food and even finance to take care of their aged parents. She urged government to think about the youth and prepare them for leadership.”
For Mr. Harris Olokolo, he was close to his office at Ikeja when the protesters took over the Oshodi-Iyana Ipaja Expressway. He could neither move ahead nor turn back.
He too expressed his support for the protesters, saying: “I am not against the protesters but against the government of Nigeria. What they are doing in this country is unfair and irresponsible. They are not treating the masses very well; they are not even trying to create infrastructure that will help the masses tomorrow. That’s the problem we are having in this country”
Similarly, M. Akugbe Adudu, a graduate-turned a cab driver, hailed the protesters. Though he claimed he had been in traffic for I’ve been in traffic three hours.
He said the protest was long overdue.
“I thank God we are having something like this in this generation. At least the government should understand that power belongs to the people and I’m sure that is what is being experienced now.
“I am very happy with the protest and the protesters have made their point very clear. It is very obvious that there’s hunger and anger in the land, and I expect the protesters to be more strategic.