It was dubbed “the traffic from hell.”
The entire stretch of the Lekki-Ajah expressway and most adjoining routes in Victoria Island and Ikoyi, were on lock-down for most of the day and well past midnight; as commuters just couldn’t move from point A to B in a city famed for its perennial traffic woes.
Most Lagos residents who got to the Lekki corridor at 12noon, didn’t get to their destination till 1am on Sunday, December 15.
In a press statement, Commissioner for Transportation in Lagos, Frederic Oladeinde, blamed owners of event centers and merry makers, for the worst traffic Lagos has experienced in recent memory, while offering an apology on the state’s behalf.
According to Oladeinde, the Lagos government has read the “riot act to operators of event centres/private property owners and other places of attraction on road blockage and apologizes to Lekki residents over the weekend gridlock.
“The government has warned operators of event centres/private property owners and other places of attraction in the state that it is henceforth compulsory for any event centre/ private property owner preparing to host more than 50 guests, to notify the General Manager of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) for adequate arrangement on management of traffic and parking of visitors’ vehicles.”
Dr Oladeinde is Commissioner for Transportation in Lagos (@Mr_jags)
The Lagos government also warns that it will no longer “condone parking of vehicles on the road side by guests or failure of the operators/ property owners to make provision for adequate parking space for their guests.”
Oladeinde says “the gridlock was caused by motorists who could not secure parking space in the venues of their social gathering and resorted to parking their vehicles on the road sides, causing permanent traffic gridlock.”
The commissioner lamented “that it was regrettable that innocent citizens who were going about their lawful duties were forced to share in the pains caused by merry makers.
“Henceforth, any social event where the number of expected visitors exceeds 50, organizers of such event must notify the General Manager of LASTMA in advance, especially if it is perceived that their properties would not accommodate large numbers of vehicles that may be brought by their guests. LASTMA personnel will be on hand to advise them on what to do rather than allowing their visitors to block roads as this will attract stiffer penalties if caught.
Lagos Gov Sanwo-Olu addressing traffic management personnel soon after he was inaugurated (Lagos govt)
“Any commercial event centre, place of worship, night club/lounge, or private property owners that is shut on account of illegal blockage of roads by their attendants will not be reopened until their owners pay the stipulated fines.
“While vehicles towed on similar offences would not be released until the corresponding amount is paid to the government coffer as fines.”
An average Lagosian spends 5hrs–or about half his life– in traffic daily.
Traffic in Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous city, will likely worsen in the next couple of days with the advent of ‘Detty December’–a phrase coined to capture the partying, music concerts and shows that typically engulf the city during the Christmas and end of year celebrations.