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Lagos traffic: When corruption fights back




LAGOS is always a traffic mess during the raining season. This is an incontrovertible fact, as a coastline city below the sea level, it should be expected. Anybody who is familiar with big cities in China where traffic sometimes run bumper-to-bumper for 48 hours, or in Mumbai and Bangkok would know that this is a mega-city feature that is not peculiar to Lagos. Fridays are even worse, with their inexplicable traffic complexities, especially on those days when the two big churches along Lagos-Ibadan expressway have their special retreats.

Needless to say that because this year was an election year, attention and perhaps funding for roads by the immediate past administration somewhat seized early, leaving many gaping holes and various degrees of decay on many roads. But then all these could have been gradually fixed as I believe they are being fixed without the orchestrated attacks on the governor of Lagos State, if LASTMA officials had not been perceived to be complicit in their actions.

And this is where the attention of the new Transport Commissioner must be: get LASTMA to work according to the vision of their employer or replace them with those who have the interest of Lagos State at heart!

Ambode has given an indication of how he wants citizens whose votes gave him the job to be treated without breeding an irresponsible citizenry; it is left for LASTMA to marshal out the correct manner of enforcement. And by this, I do not think one is asking for a miracle. The Apapa traffic debacle was always there even when LASTMA was at its peak and it has always been an unwritten rule for people who work on Lagos Island but live on the mainland to stay till 9 or 10p.m. once it is after 5p.m. due to heavy vehicular movement.

When Vanguard newspapers in 2012/2013 decided to devote a full week to putting the madness on Apapa road on its front-page, it was simply calling for a national attention to a federal road for which both the former governor and LASTMA were clearly helpless.

All that Lagosians seek now is for those officials to be alive to their duties and earn their pay particularly during rush hours on the few notorious routes linking the mainland Lagos to the affluent Island. Anything short of this would amount to sabotage for which the Governor must wield the big stick.

It is gladdening that many roads projects are now being commissioned and palliative works are being done as a response to the cries of commuters. These will even improve further as the rains subside in a matter of few months. But a far greater challenge still looms: the influx of people into Lagos as economic realities bite harder in many other states that are unable to pay salaries. Lagos will become the Mecca of those looking for escape and this will further put pressure on security, road infrastructure and the limited purse of the state.

Only dutiful and incorrigible traffic management officers would be needed at that point to rescue the roads and commuters. Therefore, Ambode must either make an ideal lot out of the present crop of officers or find his reliable traffic lieutenants elsewhere.
• Abe, a security and human behaviour analyst, lives in Lagos

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  • Naijalova

    – Bad driving habit
    – Not following driving rules
    – Bad road
    – Bad vehicles
    – Overhead bridges instead of roundabouts
    – Round abouts should be banned as part of Nigeria traffic control system until we learn how to use it effectively

  • emmanuel kalu

    If there is a LASTMA agent that fails to do his or her job, they should be sacked immediately. there are plenty of unemployed that would gladly do the job. There is a need to control and enforce the rules for commercial vehicle in the state. prevent breaking the road rules. if there is a place where people turn on to opposite traffic, it is time to block it permanently. in most developed countries, traffic sign are not the only means of controlling traffic. there is the use of fines, enforcement, jail time and down right preventing the act. we can clean lagos traffic and road if the state is serious about it. we need to start towing all illegally parked vehicle. we need to tow broken down vehicle out of the way. we need to prevent parking on the road and we need to build parking areas that would help reduce parking on the road, generate income for the state. we need to hire more LASTMA agent to tackle high traffic areas, they need to be equipped with the adequate tools to fight and prevent rule breaking and traffic jam

  • toners

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