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Worshippers shun Lagos- Ibadan Expressway over fears of gridlock

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Not wanting to be caught within the chaotic traffic situation witnessed by commuters and motorists on the Lagos- Ibadan expressway on Wednesday, many members of religious organisations wanting to go for one programme or the other this weekend may have shunned the axis.

Residents and commuters who were expecting the worse yesterday (Friday) because of the monthly church programmes on the axis, were surprised to see that the road was exceptionally free yesterday evening.Especially with the early signs of traffic seen in the morning, the situation however changed for the better, recording one of its freest traffic period.

In what could be termed as a miracle commuters spent about 34 minutes from Alausa to Olowotedo near the Deeper Life Camp, a journey that took over seven hours last week Wednesday.Ordinarily, the first Friday and Saturday of every month are usually observed as Holy Ghost Service night organised by the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) and Power Must Change Hands programme organised by the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church every first Saturday morning, which often leads to heavy traffic situation on the Julius Berger work corridor.

But The Guardian learnt that the Saturday event usually organized by the Mountain of Fire Ministry was shifted to its national headquarters in Akoka area, while RCCG members were scared of coming to the Holy Ghost Service as a result of the Wednesday experience where motorists slept on the road.

A commuter and a resident within the corridor, who simply gave his name as Patrick, could not believe his experience yesterday evening that he stated on social media: “God has dealt with our enemies that cause traffic gridlock at this hour.” Another motorist at about 4:31 pm said: “The road is as free as it can get from 7UP through Berger, Long Bridge, Magboro, Ibafo narrowed lanes all free to Aseese despite the rain. The same with the Lagos bound lanes, it is a miracle.”

A traffic officer, who spoke to The Guardian on the condition of anonymity because he was not supposed to talk to the press, said traffic started easing on both sides of the corridor from 3:00pm.He, however, attributed it to the efforts of the traffic officer on ground and prompt evacuation of broken-down vehicles.

Another commuter, Ikechukwu Uzor, said traffic on the road was not pleasant. “Work is just too slow on this road. Though the repair is for the good of the citizens, however, there should be a better way to go about it. Our goods spoil, especially perishable ones. Traffic jam is terrible, it is so sad, ” he said.

.Also a vulcaniser, Wasiu Alimi, said: “The repair has caused a lot of traffic here. It has stretched to Mowe. I urge the Federal Government to order Julius Berger to fast-track the repair. Engineers at the sight should work on shifts, morning and night. This would enable them to finish on time.”
Mrs. Yetunde Boripe urged the traffic regulatory agencies to manage traffic beyond closing hours, to minimise the impact of gridlocks arising from the partial closure of the highway.

 
When The Guardian visited, it was observed that only one policeman was around to monitor and regulate the traffic situation. This was contrary to the promises of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).FRSC assured that it had mobilised and deployed over 300 officers for two shifts operations to allow the reconstruction.

It also said it had made plans to deploy more personnel to the area for 24-hour patrol, while the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and other security agencies are expected to help with traffic control.Commander of the FRSC, Mr. Hyginus Omeje urged both motorists and commuters not to panic as he said nothing had really changed after the diversion as the road still allowed two lanes it was designated originally for.
 
On the first day of the repair, it was observed that a large deployment of policemen and traffic regulatory agencies were at the Isheri intersection on Berger Bridge. Also, patrol vehicles of the agencies were seen on various points on the corridor.However, when our reporter visited, neither FRSC nor LASTMA was sighted except a police officer who was visibly tired due to the huge responsibility vested on him. This in turn caused a lot of stress for both motorists and commuters. But yesterday, our reporters noticed high number of personnel, who were controlling the traffic.


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Lagos-Ibadan Expressway
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