Few days after the partial closure of the Third Mainland Bridge by the Federal Government in conjunction with the Lagos State Government for six months for maintenance and repairs, Lagosians have started to recount their harsh experiences.
The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Olukayode Popoola, had on Monday July 6, 2020 announced plans by the Federal Government to shut down the bridge for maintenance work from Friday, July 24, 2020 until January 2021. Both lanes are to be closed one after the other for three months each.
However, the development has stirred reactions from residents in Lagos as they have expressed concerns over traffic gridlock and crime rates in the state.
Both motorists and commuters have berated government for not embarking on the closure during the three months of total COVID-19 lockdown in the state.
Ms Ikeoluwa Omoniyi, a Human Resources expert in one of the leading e-commerce companies, lives on the island and works at Anthony. she lamented thus, “It’s so sad that we have a government that does not put the masses into consideration while making decisions, the plan isn’t favourable for someone like me. The bridge inward Adekunle is closed while I leave for work in the morning and also Adekunle enroute Lagos Island is closed by the time I close for work in the evening. I don’t know how I would survive the next six months,” she said.
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Mr Tola Oyediran, a commuter, lamented thus, “I honestly don’t know how to address the development. I’m tired of our irresponsible leaders. Things are just picking up gradually due to the lockdown and now we have to deal with this menace.
“The poor are suffering due to bad decisions by our leaders, it’s sad that we have to deal with this, really sad.”
Another motorist, Kunle Idowu lamented the the short notice given by the Federal Government. According to him, Lagosians were not given enough time to plan themselves ahead of the closure.
“We still have a long way to go as a nation. Something as important as the Third Mainland bridge closure came within a short notice and the government expects us to be excited about it?
“The decision can’t be reversed and this means that we’ll have to bear the consequences for the time- frame for the repairs.
A Lagosian, Adeniji said,
“Since the closure of the bridge, I have had to wait for so long at the bus-top to get a bus to work. And when one eventually comes, the prices are ridiculous.
“I understand that they get to spend more time in traffic now but they should also consider the commuters. I hope the state government rolls out the promised 600 buses soon,” she said.
Lagosians have also raised concerns over increase in the activities of traffic robbers owing to the partial closure of the bridge. Barely two days after the bridge was officially closed for maintenance, robbers dispossessed commuters of their money, ATM cards, wristwatches, phones, laptops at gun point in the Ojuelegba-Stadium axis of the state.
A Lagos-based journalist was lucky to have been left untouched in a robbery incident that left many injured. He narrated his ordeal thus, “Sunday, was hell and I would live to remember it for bad experience.
“I had expected my trip to Apapa from Ogba to take approximately 1hr.15 minutes. I left Ogba by 6.30 pm and got to Fadeyi before 7pm. I heaved a sigh of relief, not knowing that I had just begun a journey of trauma and apprehension.
”By the time I got to Oju-elegba, traffic had almost come to a standstill and shortly after leaving the bridge, it became a total lockdown. I thought relief had come when I saw few armed mobile policemen jumping out of their vans to go and clear the road for their bosses. 30 minutes later, nothing changed and they returned without success.
“Unfortunately for the convoy, that was also trapped, there wasn’t any opening for them to escape and drive against traffic. They were in two groups. After spending about three hours, the opportunity came and the convoy saw a small opportunity to turn. There was chaos afterwards as traffic robbers took over robbing trapped motorists at gun point.
“Though we all rained curses on the assailants, we blamed government (both state and federal) for not being proactive enough to foresee the security threat that could come with the new traffic regime.
“Many people think police should have been strategically positioned along the road as it was done on the 3rd Mainland until recently, to ward off unwanted guests. Governor Sanwo-Olu, kindly think about this sir.”