Hundreds of passengers travelling out of Lagos on Friday were stranded at the Ogun axis of the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway following a gridlock from the Magboro end of the road.
At various bus stops, some of the passengers told our correspondents that they were travelling to celebrate Easter with their families but had been frustrated by the gridlock. Some others, most of whom live in neighbouring communities, also lamented the difficulty they had had in going back home.
At the Toll Gate Bus Stop, Chimah Eze, who was travelling to Warri, Delta State for Easter and had been standing at the Bus Stop for about three hours, told one of our correspondents that he might need to go back home and leave early the next morning.
He said, “When I got to the Bus Stop, I met many people standing, and people had to rush the few buses that came. I already promised my siblings I would be home today but with this traffic, I might just go home. I don’t like night journey.”
Several other passengers at the bus stop, including those at Seven-Up Bus Stop, who spoke to Saturday PUNCH expressed their dissatisfaction with the situation, lamenting the number of hours they had wasted travelling. “I never imagined I would spend the Good Friday on the road,” another passenger said.
Another passenger, Segun Onifade, at the Ojodu Berger Bus Stop said he had been waiting to board a bus going to Mowe where he preferred to board another bus going to Ore but that the fare was too much for him.
He said, “Normally Ojodu Berger to Mowe costs N150, and sometimes N100. But now, all the buses are charging N400 because of the traffic. That is why we are this many here because some of us can’t afford it. I might have to stay longer maybe it would come down. Some people have even gone back home, saying they would go early Saturday.
Also, those coming to Lagos were also not spared, even though there was no traffic on their side of the road. It was observed that the buses that would have conveyed them to Lagos had been stuck in traffic on the other side of the road.
A commuter at the Ibafo Bus Stop, who identified herself simply as Bimbo, said she had waited for about 45 minutes since 2pm to get a bus to Lagos, but she couldn’t get any. She lamented that the few ones available were charging “exorbitant” fares. Instead of N100, they were charging N300,” she added.
Another commuter, Peter Aina, who said he was going to celebrate the holiday with his sister at Ketu, Lagos, said if he couldn’t get a bus, he would return home and go on Saturday (today), having spent about two hours waiting for a bus.
“By Saturday (today), the traffic would have eased and there would be free movement of vehicles, I believe,” he added.
Responding, the Lagos State Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, Hyginus Omeje, said the traffic was a combination of many factors.
Omeje, who said he also spent about seven hours in the traffic, said the gridlock was primarily caused by a bad portion opposite the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry campground, coupled with indiscipline on the part of drivers.
He added, “Initially, there was steady movement, even though at snail speed, but due to impatience and indiscipline on the part of drivers, they formed three to four lanes instead of maintaining the normal two lanes at that portion with potholes. Some had their cars scratched, complicating the traffic.
“Also, there was high volume of cars on the road because of the Easter break. All those factors caused the traffic. We called Julius Berger to help fix that bad portion, even though they were not working today. And with the help of the police, NEMA and TRACE in Ogun State, we were able to manage the situation and the situation had improved.”