By Victor Young, Osa Amadi & Theodore Opara
LAGOS— ANARCHY now reigns on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Lagos which leads to the country’s prime seaport as a result of the absence of law enforcement agents on the roads and heavy containerized trucks belonging to members of NUPENG.
Policemen and women are either afraid of their lives or angry with the public for the attacks on them provoked by the Lekki Toll Gate shooting on October 20.
Now, in the absence of the usual policemen who made efforts to control traffic on the road and ward off some criminals, the gridlock has quadrupled, and so have the criminals. They can be seen boasting to helpless road users that they are now “in charge” since policemen ran away. So, you had better part with your money and valuables or lose your life.
Already, there is chaos on the Apapa expressway, arising from police officers’ withdrawal of their services, Vanguard can confirm.
People can be seen trekking long distances to their destinations for hours on end.
Why we’re off the road —FRSC
The Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, is also not left out in what appears to be a strike action against Apapa residents.
An FRSC official, who spoke to Vanguard in confidence said the Corps lost 13 operational vehicles in Lagos alone on October 24, while four other vehicles were badly vandalized.
“No organisation would like to put the lives of its staff on the line given the situation on the ground,” the officer said.
Even if the Corps restores their operational equipment, the officer told Vanguard, it will be difficult for them to function amidst the fear of being attacked.
“Given the kind of services we render to the citizens, we never expected that we, who do not carry arms but render humanitarian service to the people, would be targets of such attack by the protesters”, he said.
On his part, Corps spokesman, Asst. Corps Marshal, Bisi Kazeem, said the organisation is scaling down its operations due to the recent attacks.
Kazeem said: “What we are doing presently is rescue operations. Every staff is on standby for rescue.”
Motorists recount ordeal
Those who live along the Lagos-Badagry expressway, from where they come to do business in Apapa, also tell tales of woes.
A young man who lives in Okokomaiko area of Lagos but works in Apapa said due to traffic, it took him more than four hours to get to his destination, a journey of less than an hour under normal circumstances.
The commuter said: “The fear of Apapa Road is the beginning of wisdom. After spending more than two hours in one spot, the solution is to get out of the vehicle and trek, not knowing whether you are trekking towards armed robbers or to your destination.
“The hoodlums operate unchallenged on the road. They threaten motorists and commuters with all kinds of dangerous weapons. They operate freely at Mile 2, Apapa Road, Oshodi, etc., where they smash the windshields of cars and threaten the occupants with guns and other dangerous weapons.”
A motorist, who spoke to Vanguard, said they were approached by hoodlums who collected their money and valuables in the Apapa traffic.
“Yesterday, on this Mile 2 bridge, three young men threatened to blow open my skull if I didn’t corporate with them. I quickly handed everything I had to save my life,” he said.
But for the police and other security agencies to withdraw their services, whether out of fear or anger, is to invite more chaos than that which greeted the aftermath of the Lekki Toll Gate shooting – a chaotic event capable of consuming everyone, both the police and civilians.
Moreover, it will not be a good story to tell that police officers who were trained to be brave and dogged even in the face of the worst danger have been so much gripped with fear as to abandon their duty posts.
Read the Source post on Vanguard News.