14th March, 2012
No fewer than 3, 000 vehicles, mostly those belonging to Lagos State civil servants were prevented from entering the State Government Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja this morning.
Governor Babatunde Fashola had early last month issued an Executive Order that only vehicles with new government stickers would be allowed to enter the secretariat because of the prevailing security situation in the country.
He therefore directed the Head of Service, HOS, to produce new stickers for staff while others who did not have the sticker would park at the car park outside the secretariat.
To the chagrin of thousands of civil servants who own cars, when the stickers were ready, only a handful were given to each ministry for their staff and it did not go round.
PM NEWS gathered that only 20 stickers were distributed at the Ministry of Information out of the over 100 staff who own cars. The same goes for other ministries where some received between 30 and 35.
The stickers were then shared based on seniority. Most of those who got the stickers were the Permanent Secretaries, directors and a few others while the majority were denied access to the stickers.
Very early this morning, Vehicle Inspection Officers, VIOs, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority and LASTMA officials barricaded the entrance to the secretariat and barred vehicles that did not have the stickers from entering the secretariat.
There was traffic gridlock as the VIOs and LASTMA officials tried to enforce the new order.
Inside the government secretariat, parking spaces were vacant as staff who used to park were turned back at the secretariat except for government vehicles and those belonging mostly to permanent secretaries and directors.
Press men covering the governor’s office have also been barred from entering the secretariat with their cars as no single sticker was made available to them, an act they described as unbecoming as they thought that as governor’s press corps, they ought to have been given the privilege to access the sticker as it is being done elsewhere.
Civil servants were seen complaining bitterly that they have been denied access into the secretariat to park their vehicles, lamenting that only few stickers were given to each ministry which did not go round.
They lamented that the situation was unbearable and uncalled for, saying that they have to trek from the car park provided outside the secretariat for them to their various ministries, which is tedious.
P.M.NEWS observed that the car park provided outside the secretariat was inadequate to accommodate thousands of cars belonging to the civil servants, while those who sought alternative arrangement had to cough out N200 as parking fee.
When contacted, the Commissioner for Information, Aderemi Ibirogba said government took the decision because of security reasons and to make the secretariat comfortable for all.
He said government wanted to ensure that only people who had business to do at the secretariat, such as civil servants were allowed entry, saying that government had even made a car park available for this purpose.
According to him, it had been discovered that people who were not staff parked their vehicles indiscriminately inside the secretariat, adding that “we have not created a parking lot at the secretariat.
Some of the staff faulted Ibirogba’s claim that government wanted to ensure that people who did not have business to do were not allowed to enter the secretariat, asking the commissioner to explain whether civil servants who own cars did not have business to do at the secretariat.
A staff who craved anonymity told PM NEWS bitterly: “is it the right way to ensure security? Our lives are now put in danger by parking outside,” while she described the move as wicked.