It was harrowing experience for some Lagosians following the restriction of movement imposed on certain areas of the metropolis as a result of President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Lagos.
Although, motorists and commuters were alerted by Eons Intelligence, through its incident alert system, that there would be slight inconveniences and heavy security presence in some areas, many were still caught unawares.
Consequently, the visit left many road passengers and travellers stranded at bus stops while some were forced to walk long distances to Ebute Meta and other locations in the state, following restriction of movement around Yaba and Apapa areas.
Also, activities of shuttle buses and taxis within Yaba were also restricted, forcing commuters and travellers to trek long distances to destinations.
At Apapa and Yaba , there was heavy presence of security operatives enforcing restriction of vehicular movement for the president’s commissioning of Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, otherwise known as the Deep Blue Project at Apapa and Lagos-Ibadan rail project and the flag-off of commercial operations.
As early as 5.00 a.m., commercial buses and other unauthorised vehicles were restricted from plying Jibowu, Mobolaji Johnson, Ebute Meta, Alagommeji, Ojuelegba and other link roads.
A commuter, Kemi Onaja, told The Guardian that she trekked from Ojuelegba to Alagomeji, a journey which took her over 30 minutes.
“I trekked from Ojuelegba to Alagomeji. We did not have to go through the stress. When a president visits, there should be provision for commuting that would still make commercial activities go on without the people regretting having the president around,” she said.
Two other commuters, Anayo Augustine and Michael Okpara, complained that advanced notices should have been sent to travellers, commercial vehicles operators and motorists to prepare for the inconveniences caused by the restriction.
Augustine said: “Some of us are going to a very far place and it is not good that we are treated this way. It took me hours to get to my destination as I had to trek from Jibowu.’’
Despite the restriction, Michael said, he was lucky to get a cab driver, who was able to navigate his way around the area with extra cost.
But commuters around Oshodi, Airport, Mile 2 and Apapa axis had a smooth ride as there was no major gridlock in the area, while drivers of commercial buses along the restricted areas, complained that the event crippled their daily target of revenue.
“I have plans of sending complete delivery to the owner of this bus before but now I will have to look for how to navigate my way to get passengers. This visit should not have been for today at all,” Baba Tope lamented.
A driver that plies Mushin-Ebute Metta route, Bamidele Nuru, said there should be a proper plan to ensure that VIPS’ visits do not affect the income of residents, especially with the current economic difficulties.