Anger, Pain In Lagos As Jonathan's Visit Causes Traffic Gridlocks
ABUJA, Dec 20, (THEWILL) - Lagos residents returning home after work were today held up in endless traffic congestions following the closure of all key roads, which lead to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport from Victoria.
The roads closure was traced to the visit of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR) to Lagos metropolis, a situation which sparked anger and pain among Lagos residents who were returning after their stressful day.
There were fierce-looking officers of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) at different junctions of the closed roads, especially those leading directly to the popular Third Mainland Bridge, Oshodi-Apapa Expressway and Funsho Williams Avenue.
THEWILL gathered that the closures started more than one hour before the convoy of President Jonathan passed through the routes.
The roads were closed at about 6:15 p.m. by security operatives but were not opened until about 7:33 p.m. after the convoy of President Jonathan and his entourage had driven through the Third Mainland Bridge heading to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport.
Thousands of road users and motorists, who were held in the traffic, were visibly furious and angry; bitterly lamenting that such blockage or closure was unnecessary during a democratic dispensation.
Precisely around 7:28 p.m. after the convoy had passed, a good number, who had alighted from their respective vehicles, were angrily booing President Jonathan, though security operatives scared them away.
Before the roadblocks were dismantled, THEWILL spoke with a number of road users, who were held in the traffic jam, which covered a distance of more than five kilometers and in some cases more than that.
A banker in one of the new generation banks, who plead anonymity for security reasons over the situation, saying he was fortunate to have closed early, but the hold-up had shattered the plan of being with his family on time.
The banker expressed concerns about the capacity of President Jonathan “to guarantee fundamental human rights in different spheres of life. The idea of blocking roads because of the president is uncalled for.” Another resident, Mr. Segun Balogun told THEWILL that the visit of the President to Lagos metropolis “has always been a source of concern and worry due to the tradition of road closure.” Balogun condemned the tradition, which he said, had put road users and motorists under unnecessary stress.
In his response, Special Adviser to Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) on Transportation, Comrade Kayode Opeifa appealed to Lagos residents to bear with the state government after the hold-up eased few hours later.
Opeifa added that traffic congestion experienced “all around Lagos roads was due to road closure from Victoria Island to Murtala Mohammed International Airport arising from presidential visit and the consequent closure of Lagos roads by the security operatives of the Nigeria Police.” The special adviser asked Lagos residents to be patient, saying the roads would be opened as soon as the convoy of President Jonathan passed through the Victoria Island en route the airport.