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Metro: Oshodi: Goodbye chaos, welcome sanity

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Metro: Oshodi: Goodbye chaos, welcome sanity

Post  Admin on Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:31 pm

JESUS CHRIST! Is this really Oshodi? Or am I seeing double?” exclaimed Mr. Rafael Anyanwu in a Lagos commercial bus on his way to Lagos Island from Isolo.

Mr. Anyanwu who returned to Lagos a day before after spending his Christmas and New Year vacation in the village said he could not believe the transformation in Oshodi after the demolition of shanties and roadside stalls that for many years gave the place the look of a sprawling dump where bedlam reigned supreme on a daily basis, with motorists having to endure a traffic nightmare as they tried to use the roads that traverse this expansive and ever-busy commercial bee-hive of activities that also serves as an important transit point for Lagosians.

Oshodi foot bridge“Ah, this is unbelievable. See the way traffic is moving freely. What happened to all those roadside traders who used to block everywhere,” he asked no one in particular, unable to contain his surprise at this pleasant spectacle that is now Oshodi. One of his fellow passengers, had by way of a response said thus: “Ah, na so we see am O. Oshodi don change since the Lagos Government came here to demolish all the shops along the road that used to block traffic before.

Mr. Anyanwu’s expressed surprise has similarly been echoed by many Lagos residents who until now never believed that anything could be done to give Oshodi the semblance of decency and orderliness. Although the affected traders are said to be counting their losses in terms of the items that came under the bulldozers during the demolition, majority of Lagosians from every indication are favourably disposed to the action taken by the state government to restore sanity to the place.

Indeed Oshodi has for long boasted the unenviable reputation of being one of the busiest and dirtiest markets in the “City of Excellence” before it witnessed demolition of illegal market structures in the early hours of Sunday January 4, 2009. The exercise was carried out under a joint operation of the Lagos State security agencies, comprising the Kick Against Indiscipline, Environmental and Special Offences Enforcement Unit and, the Governor’s Monitoring Team.

In the past, road users would have to wade through a sea of heads surging and jostling across all the access routes leading to Oshodi Bus Stop before any transaction could take place but all these have given way. Oshodi now wears a different look such that motorists and pedestrians can move freely without any hitch.

When VanguardMetro visited the place on Thursday, the usual traffic jam between Cappa and Bolade bus-stops had disappeared, motorists now move at good speed and pedestrians walk with full confidence. The usual confusion and deafening blaring of horns by motorists on the road seem to have become a thing of the past. Also, the number of social miscreants popularly known as area boys has equally reduced, as traffic jam, which encouraged and sustained their nefarious activities, is no longer there.

Under the present development, the pedestrian bridge linking the popular Underbridge and former Mosafejo, that has been abandoned for decades has now been put into use as pedestrians have to queue before crossing to the other side of the market.

Many of the traders were seen hanging around, some of them discussing their present predicament in groups while others now hawk their wares in trays, ever ready to take to their heels on sighting the presence of task force agents. A detachment of mobile policemen, officials of Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI), and other environmental as well as security agencies now keep vigil to keep trespassers at bay and to forestall the return of the displaced illegal traders.

While some of the traders praised the spirited effort of the Lagos State Government in giving Oshodi a new and befitting look, others complained bitterly about their predicament saying it would be difficult to recover from their loss and displacement. A book seller Nnamdi Nweke who said although his goods were not destroyed, however lamented the fact that he could not make any sales since the exercise began. “My sister, you may mot know how painful it is until you experience it, do you think we like staying idle but there is no where to display our goods. That is why you see many of us loitering around. The shops they asked us to occupy are costly as we have to pay a minimum of N1.8 million before we can gain possession. Where do we raise such an amount from ?,” he queried helplessly.

A jeweller who simply gave her name as Iyabo told VanguardMtero with tears in her eyes: “Eeh, where do I start from? Although we were notified about the demolition but nobody thought it would take place early in the morning or on new year for that matter. My goods worth N.5 million have been destroyed. I took a cooperative loan before I could buy these items but now, look at what has happened...”.

Mrs. Yemi Oguntade who saw the development as a challenge said: “It is not the end of the road, we cannot blame the government because it is a step that is going to benefit a lot of us. Although it is painful to many people, especially those of us who have our goods destroyed or who cannot get a place to sell our goods, but I believe things will soon work out”.

VanguardMetro also spoke with some pedestrians as they slowly made their way, in a shuffling fashion, across the footbridge. “Mrs. Funke Ojo, a civil servant said the development was long overdue, saying: “See, I have been robbed on various occasions in this place. The usual need to panic and hurry across is no longer there as we have to cross this bridge with ease and I can now open my eyes to see who has the courage to rob me, unlike before”.

For Mr. Jacob Omole, a business man, crossing the bridge is always an herculean task. “Can you see the long queue, I have spent up to 15 minutes on the queue. It’s even better today, I wish you can come here on weekends and see things for yourself. Many of us spend a lot of time to cross to the other side,” complained Omole.

A law enforcement agent who pleaded anonymity said the development in the market now affords people the opportunity to move freely. “Many people believe it was impossible to penetrate this market, but I know it would come to pass. Can you see people moving freely without fear. We are always here till the close of work and make sure orderliness is maintained,” he said.

A task force agent Andrew Okieimen said peace has returned to the market. “This market used to be one of the dirtiest which should not be so, at least you can see things for yourself now. We have been deployed here to make sure orderliness reign and we are really trying to achieve this.

People already know the gravity of violating the rules and they are trying to cooperate. You can see that road trading is no longer allowed and the pedestrian bridge has been put to use. Crime rate has decreased drastically and passers-by do not panic like before. The ultimate aim is to bring peace into the market and we are glad it has taken place,” he said.


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Re: Metro: Oshodi: Goodbye chaos, welcome sanity

Post  Admin on Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:32 pm

@ picture:

what an UNUSUAL sight, I must say. Surprised


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