by Hauwa Gambo
“Lagosians were terribly discomfitured yesterday (Thursday) with the traffic jam, needlessly, if I must say. There is the need for public officers generally to be more sensitive to the people we serve,” Governor Babatunde Fashola said yesterday.
You could say he was speaking the minds of many Lagosians whose lives were severly disrupted during the visit of Patience Jonathan for her ‘peace advocacy tour’. Security operates had put most the state in lockdown with roadblocks in several areas.
The Lagos governor made this statement at a retreat organised for members of the State’s Executive Council and Body of Permanent Secretaries.
“It is particularly worrisome because this is not an elected person, he continued. “And I think we all, including the security agencies, must know how they pander to our high officers, especially VIP movement, at the risk and expense of citizens and taxpayers whose money was used to fuel all the vehicles that we used to block the roads against those who pay those money.
The traffic jam, which lasted several hours, particularly affected several areas on the Lagos Island, Ikoyi and Victoria Island. Some commuters were forced to talk long walks, while motorists were grounded for up to 5 hours.
“It is an issue that calls for greater sensitivity to the comfort of our citizenry. Yes, I understand the need to protect the VIPs, but it must be done in a way that it doesn’t impoverish,” Fashola dug in.
“It should not get to the level that we shut down the roads in the state because the VIP wants to pass. If they let us know earlier because going through these roads without shutting them down, traffic can be managed.
“Nigerians respect their leaders elected or not elected and they will very sensibly and gladly yield to them to go and do their business. But I don’t think they deserve to be kept on the roads, standstill for five hours.”