Parts of Western Avenue in Surulere and Eko Bridge were on Sunday reoccupied by trailers and trucks, a day after President Muhammadu Buhari visited Lagos State.
Articulated vehicles, comprising of trucks, trailers, tankers and tippers, had before Saturday lined up in their numbers along Ikorodu Road, Western Avenue, Costain, Iganmu, and parts of Eko Bridge leading to Ijora from Alaka and Costain axis.
Majority of the vehicles were heading to the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports, as well as the oil depots in Apapa.
They were, however, cleared off the roads beginning from last Wednesday ahead of President Buhari’s visit to the state for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign rally, which held on at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere on Saturday.
Our correspondent, who passed through Western Avenue at various intervals in the morning, afternoon and evening of Sunday, sighted that the trucks had returned to their spot at Alaka and at the descending slope of the Fadeyi Long Bridge towards Ojuelegba.
The articulated vehicles were also seen by our correspondent lining up at the Eko Bridge’s branch off to Ijora.
The roads were not congested as usually experienced by Lagosians, with the traffic freely flowing as men of the Nigerian Army were seen directing the parking arrangement of the articulated vehicles
A mild drama, however, occurred at one of the areas where the vehicles were parked as a male soldier approached the Newsbreak.ng correspondent to inquire why photographs were being taken.
After explaining the mission and showing an identity card, the soldier, of average height and around his 50s, asked the journalist to immediately delete the photographs from the phone.
The soldier then seized the correspondent’s identity card and ordered the journalist to open his phone gallery and WhatsApp app on phone to ensure that the pictures “has not been sent to oga.”
Once satisfied that the pictures had been deleted, the soldier then held back the correspondent for a lecture spiralling beyond 10 minutes, explaining the current state of the trucks’ return to the roads and how the situation is being managed.
He claimed that all the articulated vehicles were only on the roads for a few minutes, stating that all members of the Lagos Task Force, consisting of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Police, Federal Road Safety Corps, and the various Lagos State traffic and security agencies, were in constant communication with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) over which of the vehicles to direct to move to Apapa.
Our correspondent saw one of the trucks moving out while the soldier instructed the driver of another to leave, stating that the truck’s time to stay on the road had elapsed.
The soldier accused our correspondent and the Nigerian media in general for “acting ignorantly”, insisting that the vehicles were not moved away because of the visit of the president.
He praised President Buhari, stating that he was doing well to improve the fortunes of the country but lamented that some forces were lamenting him.
He, however, failed to identify the forces he referred to.
He then asked our correspondent to provide an alternative solution to the lingering crisis, but the journalist insisted he was just doing his job.
The soldier recommended that private individuals build trailer parks that can accommodate 500 to 1,000 articulated vehicles, noting that the vehicles would disappear from the roads once this was done.
After believing that he had thoroughly explained the entire situation, the soldier then released the identity card of our correspondent.
He stated that if the vehicles are still on the roads by Monday (today), then the journalist can return to take photographs.
Hygenius Omeje, the FRSC Lagos State Sector Commander, had at a press conference last week announced that the owners of the articulated vehicles were given prior notice for the removal from the roads.
The Lagos State government was, however, silent on whether the trucks would return to the roads after the presidential visit.