President Muhammad Buhari’s visit to Lagos State today has brought untold hardship to residents of Lagos, commuters as well as air travellers as airlines delay flight operations to accommodate passengers held up in the “Buhari traffic gridlock,” around the state. As a matter of fact, the sign of trouble came when the Lagos State government a few days ago announced a 2-day visit of the President and declared a public holiday for its workers to ameliorate the hardship that was bound to follow due to the deficit of serviceable roads in the state and the fact that it had cordoned off certain areas for security reasons.
Mr. Imohimi Edgal, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, announced the temporal closure of routes including Ikeja, Agege, Maryland, Ikoyi and Victoria Island, these affect areas around the environs from Iyana-ipaja, Egbeda, Ikotun, Airport Road, Yaba and a host of other places. Considering the nature of the state, this practically meant shutting Lagos down. But unlike Lagos State employees, workers who are not of the state government are having a hard time getting around as security agents have blocked strategic areas.
As commuters are having a rough time on the road, airlines are however taking initiatives to ensure their passengers travelling do not get a raw deal out of the route blockages around the state. Air Peace’s Chris Iwarah, said,”Reports reaching us say most of our guests are trapped in the huge traffic jam caused by the multiple diversions in Lagos. Since Lagos is our base, we had no choice than to consider their challenge. Although our crew members are on ground, we are delaying most of the flights to accommodate some of those who are caught in traffic. The situation is, however, causing huge disruptions in our operations.”
An official of one of the airlines said the traffic was going to have a negative effect on flight operations especially given that some morning flights were delayed slightly to accommodate people caught in traffic. The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in a statement yesterday also informed passengers, airport users and the general public that the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, will visit Lagos State for two-days.