Residents groan, knock LASG over road closure for Buhari’s visit

Lagos residents heading for their workplaces and other destinations on Thursday were
stranded after the state government blocked some major roads over the visit of
President Muhammadu Buhari to the state.

Among some of the areas affected were Iyana Ipaja, Ikeja, Maryland, Iyana Oworo,
Airport Road, among others.

Our correspondent gathered that many commuters were forced to trek for hours due to
absence of vehicles, while residents travelling out of the country trekked with
their luggage to the airport.

A resident, Ayodeji Iyanu, said he trekked from Iyana Ipaja to Ladipo, Oshodi.

Iyanu, who shared his experience on Twitter, accused the police, who manned the
blocked roads, of eye service.

Another resident, Ayoade Rufus, who spoke on a traffic platform, Gidi_Traffic, said
the Victoria Island area was also affected.

“Outer Marina (was) barricaded from Odulami Junction. People are trekking to
Victoria Island. Walking for Mohammadu Buhari was voluntary. Now it’s compulsory,”
he wrote.

A motorist, Tony Bekederemo, said he spent about three hours driving a short distance.

“I spent two hours and 43 minutes driving from Apongbon to CMS. Lagos na wa o,” he

A popular Twitter user and self-acclaimed adviser of the state governor, with the
alias, Lagos Class Captain, said he trekked from Sango, Ogun State to Mangoro, Ikeja
area of Lagos.

“Hello Sir, Akinwunmi Ambode, this morning I have trekked from Sango to Mangoro
because Say-Baba is coming to open bus stop in Lagos. Is it fair like that? Sir,
there’s pandemonium everywhere. Please help,” he wrote.

One Davizs said a lot of damage had been caused by the shutdown of Lagos roads.

He said, “You have actually ruined a lot today (Thursday) dear Governor Akinwunmi
Ambode for so called opening. By closing the roads, business (was) closed, funds
lost, tickets wasted, flight missed, plans trashed, and more. Just because you want
to please our President, a city was displeased.”

Also, one Seun, condemned the action of the state government.

He said, “An example of a dysfunctional state goverment is blocking all access roads
to your three airport terminals because someone wants to commission a bus terminal/
bus stop in 2018 – a project of a local government chairman. Mega city my foot!”

One IK Mosina recalled that a similar lockdown occurred in the state during the
administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

He said, “It’s quite shameful that what was totally condemned by the government of
Lagos State during GEJ’s visit to the state still happened during the man called Mr.
Better. Who is deceiving who? I am not a GEJ fan, neither am I a member of any
political party. But I hate people doing what they condemn others for; hypocrisy of
the highest order.”

The experience made some rights organisations, activists and celebrities to call out
the state government.

A civil society group, Enough is Enough Nigeria, said shutting down the state over
Buhari’s visit could not be justified.

“The decision to shut down a commercial city like Lagos is totally unreasonable and
unnecessary. How many cities in the world are shut down due to a presidential visit?
Lagosians deserve better!” it said.

Founder, Stanbic IBTC, Atedo Peterside, described the development as unfortunate.

“Today’s Lagos road closures are totally unnecessary and unfortunate. In the 21st
century, nobody closes down a mega city. The President and governors should simply
have used helicopters. No right thinking person will close down New York or London
or even Sydney,” he tweeted.

As of 8pm, Peterside’s post had generated 131 comments and 1,400 retweets.

A former Minister of Education and frontline activist of the #BringBackOurGirls
campaign, Oby Ezekwezili, wondered why the state government declared a public
holiday over the presidential visit.

She retweeted a post by one Editi Effiòng, who put up a picture of stranded
residents trekking on a long stretch of road.

“It’s all about perspective. If you see today as inter-house sports or a state-wide
fitness day, the trekking will make sense!” the post said.

There were also videos of some residents trekking to their airport with their luggage.

A Lagos-based publisher, Dele Momodu, also expressed his displeasure.

“Lagos is already on lockdown just because our President is visiting us today. There
should be other convenient ways of doing this,” he said.

The 2015 Presidential Candidate of KOWA Party, Remi Sonaiya, faulted the invitation
of Buhari to inaugurate the terminal.

She said, “If the new Ikeja Bus Terminal had to be opened, the Ikeja Local
Government Chairman could easily have done it. But the President! Just like
magistrates gathered in Yaba to inaugurate an inverter. Let’s stop this farce, for
God’s sake and get down to serious work.”

However, the spokesperson for the Lagos State Police Command, SP Chike Oti, in a
statement around 8.30am on Thursday, said all roads in the state were opened to both
human and vehicular traffic.

He assured residents of adequate security during and after the President’s visit.

Oti could not be reached for comment on the harrowing experiences of residents as of
press time.

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