On Lawlessness In Ladipo Market
A VERY disturbing phenomenon in Lagos State today is how the bourgeoning population of the state’s or city’s residents has outstripped public facilities.
The result is a living condition that is at best brutish, stifling and dangerous and which must not be allowed to continue. This is particularly evident in how markets are located and how many others have sprung up in the city in awkward locations, constituting a nightmare to the populace.
One of such markets is the Ladipo auto market, which is situated at Toyota Bus Stop along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway. The biggest market for fairly used automobile spare parts, over the years, Ladipo Market has not only grown too big for its current location, it has become a blight on Lagos, a huge obstruction to traffic and its users pose a grave threat to the lives and property of other citizens.
If anything, Ladipo Market epitomises mindless lawlessness in Lagos. Crudely unmindful of the danger they pose to others, users or traders in Ladipo Market offload their trucks on the road creating a situation whereby a distance that should normally be covered within three minutes by motorists could take over two hours.
Often times, because of the rowdiness on the road, many motorists have had their vehicles damaged and their valuables stolen. Even the environment of the market is unbearably untidy as everywhere has been smeared with engine oil and trucks have been abandoned on the road.
Now the market has practically extended beyond the service lane to the middle of the highway. Worst still, many portions of the road are ridden with potholes.
Thus often times, motorists and pedestrians are sandwiched between these potholes and trucks with tilting unlatched containers. Even the policemen who are supposed to maintain order have become part of the crisis in the area.
Instead of dutifully engaging in policing of this area, they are pre-occupied with allocating, for a fee, parking spaces to motorists who come to the market thereby turning a large swath of the expressway into a garage or a junkyard of disused vehicles.
Outraged at the chaos in the market, the Lagos State government has on some occasions attempted to restore order by adopting measures ranging from shutting down the market to compelling the traders to clean it up and attempting to ease the traffic with security personnel. But such redemptive measures have often failed.
Thus the mistake of allowing a market like that to grow in the centre of the city keeps on haunting all Lagosians. The planners of Lagos may have failed to anticipate that the population of the city would keep on growing at the rate it has and the result is that facilities supposedly located in the outskirts have been over-taken by the city. But the lawlessness of the citizens is a major factor that must be checked.
To bring sanity to the Ladipo Market, there are some short-term measures that the state government must put in place. These should include the immediate deployment of the appropriate security authorities in the market to maintain law and order. All the abandoned trucks and wares that obstruct traffic must be removed and the traders confined to the premises of market.
The government should also repair problem of the road that are now hardly motorable. But in the long run, the government must go back to the state’s master plan and accept the fact that a market like Ladipo must not continue to be where it is now.
The government must take the market to a place far from the heart of the city where its business would not be an obstacle or a nuisance to other road users.
Should the government chose to retain the market at Ladipo, then it must be rebuilt. This would involve not only demolishing the market itself, but many other building around it, in order to give it enough space.
Then the government could build a proper market with the right facilities like an adequate parking space. The government could further manage the problem of a lack of space by making such a building a multi-level one.
This, of course, is an expensive proposition and for it, the state government could enter into a partnership with private developers. As it is with markets like Ladipo, so with army barracks in Lagos, which were supposedly located in what were the city’s outskirts but are now in city centres, posing danger to both the barracks themselves and their immediate environment.
The Federal Government should now consider relocating such facilities as military barracks from where they not only interfere with civilian life, but also defeat the purposes of a military formation in that nobility is almost impossible for the personnel.
Indeed, such a relocation has become imperative in the light of the fact that most of the military barracks have been hemmed in by development and heavy traffic in the heart of the city.
The danger now is that if there is a crisis and their services are needed, armed forces’ personnel would find it difficult to mobilise and get to where they are needed urgently. Certainly, Lagos needs to be made more inhabitable with the right attitude from both the government and the governed.