Despite the lockdown in Lagos State to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of motorists were on Monday stranded in a gridlock on the Lekki-Epe Expressway.
Footage of the gridlock, which was trending online, showed hundreds of vehicles stuck in traffic.
“No isolation anymore, no quarantine in Lagos State, from Jakande Estate to Agungi, full hold up is going on right now,” the person, who recorded the video, could be heard saying.
Some of the stranded motorists lamented having to spend hours for journeys that should have lasted minutes.
While some complained that the gridlock was caused by security agents enforcing the lockdown by scrutinising motorists plying the road, others said not all those stuck in the gridlock were rendering essential services and thus, were exempted from the lockdown.
A stranded motorist, who is a health worker, said on condition of anonymity that she had to abort her journey to a hospital in the Ikeja area of the state after spending three hours in the gridlock, adding that residents were not complying with the directive on the total lockdown of the state
The medical personnel stated, “I spent three hours navigating through Igbo-Efon and Jakande roundabouts. I was on my way to work and driving out of Lekki when I ran into the gridlock around 10am. I was still in the traffic by 1pm and in that period, there was a heavy downpour, so, I had to turn back at the Jakande roundabout.
“I learnt that the gridlock was caused by security agents enforcing the lockdown as they were stopping motorists and asking them where they were going. However, some of the people on the road were essential service providers. People are not complying with the lockdown at all.”
A Twitter user, Chiekezi Dozie, condemned the development and questioned the effectiveness of the lockdown.He wrote on his Twitter handle, @iChexo, “As if we are not mad enough as it is already this is Lekki Ezpressway 1 hour ago on a supposed lockdown. We really are a selfish bunch of people @Outsiderinside1 see ya people on lockdown. Please help me ask them where they are going today.”
When contacted, the General Manager, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Olajide Oduyoye, said, “There will be gridlock, because the police are all over the place checking that those who are supposed to be on the road are the ones that are allowed to be on the road and once that happens, there will be gridlock.
“The fact that there is a build-up of traffic doesn’t necessarily mean that people are violating the lockdown. However, it doesn’t change the fact that the number of vehicles on that road was a bit high, because I saw the footage too.
“But the government also said that markets could open between 10am and 2pm; the issue now is that a market is not at the junction of every street, so the people who are selling in the markets will need to be conveyed there and there is no purpose for the markets if people who need to buy cannot get there.
“So, that could also be a factor in terms of the increased number of vehicles on the road. People in the Lekki-Ajah areas are affluent and rely on their cars, and that was what, in my opinion, created what was witnessed on Monday morning.”