“We don’t want this change”, Lagosians deplore the ‘human’ gridlock at the Ojota pedestrian bridge this morning

Whilst Lagosians are recovering from the madness caused by the fuel scarcity this past week, they were hardly prepared for the spectacle that befell them early Monday morning. At least, I was not. There was immense traffic, but it wasn’t caused by motor vehicles on major roads and express ways, there were hundreds of people trying to cross the pedestrian bridge. There was a stagnant and restless congestion of people atop the Ojota pedestrian bridge, with the exact same situation mirrored beneath the bridge as there was long queue of people waiting, pushing, and struggling to get on the bridge.

Soon, a throng of people charged across the road to the other side, disregarding the pedestrian bridge and the stipulated law against crossing the road. Clearly they had enough. It is the beginning of the week, and people were running late for work. As I joined the group of people crossing the road, I could hear several cursing, murmuring, and grumbling. A man in front of me said, “Change? We don’t want this [kind of] change. A lady beside me lamented, “I’ve been standing there [referring to the queue at the bottom of the bridge] for good 15 minutes …” Others out rightly  directed their insults to the Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, and his administration.

In a bid avoid accidents, and create some form of sanity on the Ikorodu- Ojota express way, the Lagos state government had erected a long stretch of wired fences along the middle curb. This was done in good fate but it clearly did not  seem like it this morning judging by the stampede on and around the pedestrian bridge. By now, I am certain the Lagos state government knows that the fencing project is a failure as they have only succeeded in achieving the exact issues they were initially trying to avoid – accidents and chaos. “I would have been stepped on. People were angry, and impatient,” a source told Ventures Africa. The young lady was almost trampled upon in the stampede this morning. Her foot wear had gone off from all the pushing, and any attempt made to recover it would have been dangerous,

“Would it have been better for people to keep crossing the road instead of using the bridge,” a Nigerian asked on twitter. The answer is no. But neither is the governments decision to erect a fence without proper thought and consideration, given the population of the state. Judging by the events of this morning, the Lagos state government clearly did not take into account, all the possible outcomes of blocking off the curb, leaving just a bridge to serve the multitude of people heading out  daily. If they had, they would have thought to either construct another pedestrian bridge like Abidion Arogunmaya tweeted, or a Zebra crossing controlled by traffic signals.

The post “We don’t want this change”, Lagosians deplore the ‘human’ gridlock at the Ojota pedestrian bridge this morning appeared first on Ventures Africa.