Articulated trucks and tankers have locked down Lagos for months on end, and no one is bothered.
You hit the road in the wee hours on your regular commute to work and there they are:
The articulated trucks and tankers from hell. Parked on one of the busiest stretches of road in this over-crowded city. They form an impregnable wall from Ikorodu Road, Eric Moore in Surulere to Eko bridge, through Costain and downward toward Apapa.
There’ve been there forever now. Unmoved. Unperturbed.
Their drivers don’t give a hoot because giving a hoot is alien to drivers of articulated trucks and tankers in this part of the world. Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) personnel have no clue what to do with them anymore, so they wave their arms in dismay and cluelessness.
What has led to this everlasting gridlock from truck drivers in a city that needs every inch of road it can find?
According to the Lagos State government, the truck drivers were asked to vacate the Apapa Road pending the repair of the deplorable surface of that stretch. They were provided with alternative parking lots, but the drivers rejected those, citing non-proximity to tank farms and the seaport.
The drivers say they would rather park their trucks where they’ve known all their lives because the alternative parking lot is not really an alternative parking lot because none was actually provided. They accuse the Lagos State government of strong-arm tactic; of asking them to use alternative routes that would make life difficult for them.
The tanker drivers have vowed to shut down the city for as long as the government proves unreasonable. They say they won’t lift petroleum products no more and are content to just park their heavy trucks on bridges that are falling apart under the weight of it all.
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Lagos and the Nigerian economy must have lost billions of Naira for as long as this stand-off between government and truck drivers has lasted.
Daily, most commuters call their offices to say they just can’t make it to work. Some commuters abandon their cars smack in the middle of the road and just head home, dejected. Lagos is being brought to its knees because commonsense won’t prevail.
Commonsense says if you are Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, you resolve this as quickly as possible because your economy is suffering badly from it all. Commonsense says dialogue channels should have long being opened to resolve this as quickly as possible.
But this situation has lasted months now and could well taper into more months because in a city as crowded and chaotic as Lagos, officials still don’t know what constitutes an emergency.