Traffic Improves As Lagos Chases Traders Off Highways

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Lagosians have commended the action of the Lagos State government and its innovative acts geared towards ridding the major highways of street traders and its positive effect on traffic flow in the state.

Motorists along major highways like Ojota, Third Mainland Bridge, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Kingsway road, Falomo, Ikeja, Maryland and some other areas of the state have commended this bold move of the state government and pleaded that the tempo should be sustained.

Two weeks ago, the Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello at a news conference had disclosed the intention of the government to sanitise the state of all forms of environmental abuse and degradation.

He also explained that evidence at his disposal showed a correlation between the activities of street traders, flow of traffic and crime rate in the state.

Respondents and motorists along some major highways commended  Bello but advised that more shops should be built to accommodate some of the traders.

Mr. Taofeek Adebule, a bus driver who plies his trade from Oshodi-Obalende commended the state government for removing street traders along the route, saying that the bottleneck at Adenji Adele had been greatly reduced.

Similarly, Niduka Odozie, who drives a bus said some of these traders snatch passengers’ wrist watches while pretending to be selling during traffic jams. He also stated that he had noticed an improved flow of traffic  in recent times.

According to Mr. Taiwo Aimaku, a danfo bus driver, who plies Ojota to CMS, there had been noticeable presence of Kick Against Indiscipline, KAI personnel along Ojota, Ikeja and Ikorodu road.

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He observed that the congestion has been greatly reduced at Ojota during the day but urged that their operations should be extended till about 9pm.

According to the Commissioner for the Environment, the move was a strategic one introduced to change the orientation and mode of operations of KAI officials, adding that “however, we are not there yet.

“We have also tried to bust the link of some of the major suppliers who sponsor these traders to go to the streets to trade. We found out that some shop owners recruit these traders and send them to the streets to trade, a development which we are seriously working on,” he added.

He also attributed the noticeable changes to the non-custodian sentences introduced to discourage street traders, which has indeed helped reduced the menace on our roads.

He acknowledged that some of the prosecuted traders recounted their unforgettable experiences like washing of public toilets, sweeping, cleaning of blocked drains and working at dump sites as experiences they will never forget.

Bello added that the state government would not relent in its efforts until the streets of Lagos were clean and “we will eliminate all forms of environmental abuses.”

— Kazeem Ugbodaga