The harrowing experience of Lagos motorists and commuters, arising from the fuel scarcity and gridlock on roads may not end anytime soon. According to Mr Tokunbo Korodo, the South-West Chairman of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, the trucks causing the gridlock may not leave the roads soon as directed by the Lagos State Government.
Korodo told newsmen in Lagos on Thursday that only three depots out of over 50 in Lagos had petroleum products to dispense. The development had compelled hundreds of trucks to head for the three depots to lift oil. He said that the development was the key reason for the unprecedented traffic jam that had locked down Lagos in recent days. The Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Kayode Opeifa, had on Wednesday chaired a meeting with the stakeholders in the oil industry where the government directed the tankers and trucks to vacate the bridges and roads.
“No tanker should be seen on Eko, Liverpool and Coconut among other bridges. “By Thursday, the tanker owners should make one lane available for motorists to use pending the expiration of the ultimatum for enforcement to begin,” the commissioner said. The stakeholders at the meeting are NUPENG, Petroleum Tankers Drivers (PID), National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) and Independent Petroleum Markers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN),
Residents in Nigeria’s economic capital have faced tough times, trying to buy gasoline and their woes have been made worse by a lock-jam on most roads in the city. Korodo named the three depots currently having oil as Capital Oil and Gas Tank Farm, Ibeto Oil and Gas Tank farm and Integrated Oil and Gas Tank Farm, all in the Apapa. He said the gridlock could ease if trucks queuing for oil would load and leave Lagos by weekend. But such scenario is not likely, according to observers.
Korodo suggested that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation should decentralise loading of petroleum products to ease the pressure on Lagos. According to him, that is the only way Lagos residents can get reprieve from the gridlock, which has forced transport fares and cost of foodstuff up. Meanwhile, many Lagos residents, including women and children resorted to trekking distances to get to their schools, businesses and places of work. Residents of Mushin, Ojuelegba, Surulere and Constain-Apapa areas found it impossible to commute to Lagos Island because of a total lock-down at Costain Roundabout.
Some motorists abandoned their vehicles on roads after finding it impossible to cope with the stress of making their trips. A Civil Servant, Mr Innocent Edewor, residing in Iyana-Ipaja and working in Iganmu lamented that latest fuel scarcity worse than the previous ones, saying “the situation is telling on my meagre income”. “It is never easy coping with Lagos traffic but the last one week has been hellish. “I cannot even drop my children in school because first the fuel is not available and secondly the roads are heavily congested by heavy vehicles.
“I have, therefore, decided to let my children stay at home, until the situation gets better. “I pay as much as N350 from Iyana-Ipaja to this place and most of the time I have to trek long distances. If I have my way, this is the time to leave Lagos,’’ the apparently frustrated worker stated. In a related development, traders on Lagos Island are lamenting poor sales because of the inability of people to get to the island.
“Nobody is coming to patronize us at Balogun Market. Which road will they take to come to the market,’’ a shop owner, Mrs Olubunmi Erinle, said. “Our leaders should be proactive to prevent situations like this because everyone is suffering. The hardship is too much,’’ she said.