How Not to Tango in Lagos

TELL Cover page

TELL Cover page

This is no storm in a tea cup. Lagos is at a standstill. The streets are clogged by vehicles in motion but no movement. Motor parks are mushrooming in unauthorised places. Commercial minibus drivers now conduct race teases as they ride on street sidewalks and kerbs. The sidewalks have been overrun too by hawkers who spread their wares on pavements without any heed of existing regulations. Minibus drivers struggle with hawkers for rights and bedlam is let loose. People and wares are knocked down in the madness with traffic controllers and environmental law enforcers watching helplessly.

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In the sweltering traffic jams armed robbers have taken over control, especially on the three main bridges and the major road arteries that lead to Lagos Island. They are defiant. Oshodi, Mile 2, Mile 12 and Ojota have regained their notoriety. This business is no more local because a leading British magazine has caught the fever and reported it, giving the development a slant and twist. Did someone cut his nose to spite his face? What must have stirred this hornets’ nest that has given the earlier tamed transport unions latitude to stop traffic, even at rush hours, to demand “dues”?

Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomole once said that he had read all Nigerian laws and found no portion that gave bus operators and owners such power in labour ordinance. It is the people of Lagos that now bear the brunt of feuds and internal party squabbles. The authorities are faced with a fork in the road and responses as to what was said or meant are not solving the problem for the city folks who now spend hours that could have been applied on gainful occupation on the road. This is not how to tango…

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