The restriction of okada on some routes in Lagos State and the worsening fuel scarcity has condemned many Lagosians to trekking to their destinations on Wednesday.
Motorists were also held up in traffic for hours on most major roads. Lagos-Ibadan Expressway towards Seven-Up, Yaba, Iyana Ipaja, Ikorodu Road, Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Oba Akran Avenue, Oba Ogunnusi Road in Ogba among others witnessed traffic gridlock.
The gridlock was as a result of motorists struggling to buy fuel at some filling stations as the queues took a large portion of the road, ban on okada in some routes and Sallah rush.
Some motorists and commuters, who spoke to reporters, also attributed the situation to the Lagos State Government new traffic laws. They said the policy was not well thought out because it had only imposed hardship on the people.
“I really don’t know the purpose of a law. Is it to make the people suffer or to provide relief?” a commuter said. She said she usually took okada as buses do not ply her route.
“Higher fares, stranded commuters; these are what you get when a few people think they know what’s best for 18 million others,” another commuter said.
Commercial bus drivers took advantage of the situation to hike their fares from between 50 to 100 per cent.
The transport fare for Ikeja-Yaba route increased from N120 to N200 while Ketu-Ikorodu was hiked from N100 to N200.
“Okadas, which used to help us in such a situation, have been chased away. Government must rescind its decision in the interest of the people. We are suffering seriously and the situation cannot continue like this,” a man lamented.
“Apart from the transport fare being too exorbitant the buses are not even available. I have been standing here waiting for a bus to convey me to my place of business for about an hour with no success,” he said.
A commercial driver however said the hike in fares was as a result of petrol scarcity.
He said, “It’s not our fault. I woke up as early as 5am today (Wednesday) in search of fuel today and on getting to my turn after queuing up for hours, they told me that they had ran out of supply.
“I eventually bought 10 litres for N2, 000 from black marketers. In all fairness, we are left with no choice but to adjust the fares we charge.”
There was also much pressure on the Bus Rapid Transit services as passengers cramped onto the buses. Many would-be commuters were seen in long queues awaiting BRT buses, and those who couldn’t bear the long queues and cramping in buses resulted to walking.