By Chizoba Ikenwa
The sunnewsonline took new media reporting on innovative note Tuesday as it beamed to about one million followers of its facebook account worldwide the traffic crisis on the Oshodi-Apapa expressway in Lagos.
During the live report leveraging on Live Facebook option, over a thousand viewers who were logged on to the event expressed their anger and reaction to the discouraging development that has held down economic activities in Lagos and Nigeria for months.
The live report ran for about 16 minutes and attracted a live audience of about 1,600 viewers who also reacted in live chats. While most of the viewers were Nigerian followers of the facebook account, there were viewers logged on from Europe, US and Asian countries as well as many African countries.
They expressed their anger at the deplorable situation in live chats they kept sending as the report lasted.
For about five weeks, sunnewsonline has observed that commuters plying the Oshodi-Apapa expressway experience worse difficulty due to the perennial traffic congestion,
One of the truck drivers we spoke while on air said he arrived Lagos three days ago from Ibadan and had been locked down at a spot without hope of when he would pull out.
The man who said he had been plying the route in the past 16 years lamented that it hadn’t been this bad in past years,
He said he was on his way to the Tin Can port to pick up industrial machines that need to be taken to Port Harcourt, but would not predict when he arrives there. He said some trucks get stuck in the jam for as long as three weeks.
He attributed the crisis situation to two major causes – collapsed road spots around the Coconut and Tin Can First Gate ends and the delays by ports and business operators associated with clearing at the ports.
He lamented also that for the days he and others are in the lockdown, they sleep in the trucks at the mercy of crime and danger to their lives.
Another truck operator who refused to come on camera complained that even as they are trapped, security officials still extort them of money.
From other sources we spoke with, the cause of the perennial gridlock on the road that is the most important to Nigeria’s economy linking the country’s busiest seaports and the prime international airport in Ikeja is traced to the lack of adequate packing bay for trucks, bad roads, lawless attitude of motorists and inadequate or the lack of control by government agencies.
Cargo trucks and fuel tankers occupy five lanes along the road making it difficult for commuters and traffic law agents to move and control the flow. Clusters of motorcycles, cars and buses were seen going to and fro in the same lane without control which poses a risk to lives.
The 10-lane expressway that has rules for vehicles to move in particular directions has become a war zone where order has totally collapsed and the government seem to have surrendered sanity to urchins and others that make Lagos unliveable.
Nigerians through our Facebook live coverage vented their frustration at the inability of the government to control the traffic and create a parking bay for these truck drivers.
The governor of Lagos State, Akinwumi Ambode promised over two weeks ago to set up a task force to look into the recurring situation.
But from sunnewsonline findings, nothing has been done after the promise to solve that problem.