Lagos shuts down for Buhari

Lagos shuts down for Buhari

Bank Anthony Way in Ikeja, Agege Motor Road, a section of Eko Hotel Road in Victoria Island and Old Marina in Ikoyi axis have been closed to traffic as President Muhammadu Buhari makes a two-day visit to Lagos.

Announcing traffic diversions and alternative routes ahead of a two-day visit by the President to the State between March 29 and 30, State’s Commissioner of Police, CP Imohimi Edgal, at a recent press briefing held at Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, said adequate preparations have been made to mitigate the impact of the road diversions on residents. He said access would be given to any emergency situation.

It has been reported that travellers, commuters, had a hard time on Thursday over restriction of movement by security agencies for the President’s visit. According to a Vanguard newspaper report, Some travelers and commuters were on Thursday, forced to walk long distances to the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos to catch their flights, following restriction of movement around the airport vicinity by security operatives.

“As early as 5am, commercial buses and other unauthorised vehicles were restricted from plying the Agege Motor Road, Airport Road, Mobolaji Bank-Anthony Way and other link roads. Activities of shuttle buses and taxis within the airport were also restricted, forcing commuters and travellers going to the airport, to walk long distances to their destinations,” said the report.

The situation, the newspaper stated, had also affected flight operations by domestic airlines, which had to delay their 7am flights for about an hour to enable stranded passengers catch up with fights. A number of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) personnel, the Nigeria Air Force, Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, have been deployed around the airport to beef up security ahead of the president’s visit.

Edgal had said at the briefing that to the diversions were necessary to ensure smooth, security-free visit of the President.

“Some certain roads will be closed at certain times; some diversions will be made but I want to use this opportunity to appeal for the support and understanding of Lagosians that this temporary road closures and diversions might cause a little inconvenience.

“We want the people to bear with us to ensure that we all join hands together to make the visit of Mr. President not only hitch-free but also very memorable. The road closures and diversions will be very temporary and immediately the President leaves a certain location, that area will be opened very quickly for the general public. We have also made adequate arrangements to mitigate the impact of the closures on residents,” he said.

He listed the areas to be affected to include Bank Anthony Way in Ikeja, Agege Motor Road, a section of Eko Hotel Road in Victoria Island and Old Marina in Ikoyi axis.

Besides, Edgal said security arrangement was already in top gear and that people would see a lot of deployment of personal of both military and civil logistics adding that it is nothing to worry about.

“We have done the necessary threat assessments; we have reached out to all stakeholders in areas that we believe we should reach out to them to ensure their full cooperation. We are using this opportunity to call again on the Okada Unions and the National Union of Road Transport Workers that they must abide with the terms of agreement we reached during meetings with them regarding the visit.

“We will not want to see commercial motorcycles plying the prohibited routes of Agege Motor Road, Bank Anthony Way and anywhere on the Island. Should that order be disobeyed, we would be constrained to ensure that you are arrested with your motorcycles impounded. Whoever is also found as a passenger will also be arrested and prosecuted so do not patronise these Okadas on these prohibited routes not only for the purpose of the visit but also to ensure that Lagos State Laws on the regulation of commercial motorbikes are obeyed at all times,” Edgal said.

He added that three locations have been designated for all first emergency responders to station their equipment and officials including the Police, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), LASAMBUS, Civil Defence, Fire Brigade, among others at Ikeja, Victoria Island and Free Trade Zone at Lekki-Akodo axis.

On the Apapa gridlock which has spilled over to other parts of the state, Edgal said while the Joint Task Force set up by the State Government was already working to ensure free-flow of traffic, the government nonetheless has commenced the construction of a new Trailer Park in Ijora axis that can conveniently accommodate 2,800 trucks and tankers.

Meanwhile, the Ikeja Branch of the Nigeria Bar Association has said that it would be staging another round of protest on March 29 over the reviewed Lagos Land Use Charge.

The NBA Chairman, Adeshina Ogunlana, said in a media briefing that though the charges have reduced, the association is still not satisfied and would embark on another round of protests during Buhari’s visit.

A public hearing on the Lagos Land Use Charge organised by the Lagos State House of Assembly on March 27 had turned rowdy as Ogunlana led lawyers in a walk-out, insisting that the notice to submit their memorandum was too short.

Ogunlana said: “The protest is far from being over as lawyers have declared their intention to embark on another round of streets protest tomorrow (March 29).”

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