COVID-19: Commuters Express Dismay Over Gridlock On Lekki Expressway Despite Lockdown
Commuters on the Lekki-Epe Expressway expressed dismay over the gridlock witnessed on major roads along the Expressway, in Lagos on Monday despite the lockdown order over the COVID- 19 pandemic in the state.
Some commuters were held up in traffic for more than two hours.
A lady named Enny, who is a medical doctor in a public hospital on Lagos Island, spoke with The Punch, lamented that she was unduly delayed.
Enny said she was in the gridlock from Sangotedo to Jakande bus stop for more than two hours.
Another road user, who gave his name as Mike, complained that most of the people causing the gridlock were either going to a nearby market or visiting a friend.
“Many of these guys could have just trekked to where they are going. I understand that rich people live here, by trekking short kilometres to get whatever they want could have saved us this mess,” Mike, who works with one of the telecommunication companies in Nigeria, added.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in Lagos State, Bala Elkanah, said the gridlock was caused by the blockage of roads by men of the Lagos State Police Command.
He said, “We narrowed the road and blocked it to ensure effective checking of vehicles before allowing them to pass. Don’t forget that some essential workers are allowed to use the road and we have to allow them to pass.”
When asked what action is being taken by the police when a road user not on an essential duty is found, he replied, “We impound the vehicles immediately. We have impounded over 500 vehicles and many vehicles were impounded from that area too.”
However, some Nigerians on social media wondered why there would be gridlock on an Expressway despite the lockdown order in the state.
Some of them alleged that the lockdown order only affected the poor while the rich were allowed free movement.
@Pristin26534204 alleged that the rich were given preferential treatment, saying, “Are they not suppose to be beaten by the Army, just the way they beat the poor?”
“I just left this traffic. I spent an hour from Igbo-Efon to Jakande as a result of the police checkpoint at Jakande. The lockdown only applies to the poor and common people,” @Enkayakanbi said.
“Life! The rules and regulations in Nigeria are for the poor,” @laraakinkuolie added.
@wuhraholar decried that such should not have happened in a state with the highest COVID-19 cases in Nigeria.
“In this same Lagos that has the highest case recorded? Is it not the rich that brought the virus to Nigeria? Lekki people should observe their own isolation differently,” @wuhraholar added.
@OLAOLUROCKSTAR said, “They have just distributed new cases of this coronavirus in Lekki this morning alone. The numbers will now go up because some people feel they are too big to obey rules and stay at home.
“I don’t understand how the Lekki area that has the highest cases of this virus is the same people moving around and disobeying the lockdown rules. We are really not serious about this thing.”
Countering responses that police roadblock caused the gridlock, @teju_james said, “This is a bloody lie! There are police checkpoints everywhere.”
@enwefahtony alleged that “The president and the Governor of the state are not serious and they are just punishing the poor for nothing. When they are ready for a proper lockdown they will enforce it. For now, it’s politics as usual.”