By Kazeem Ugbodaga
Following the apprehension that has greeted the scheduled visit of President Muhammadu Buhari for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential rally on Saturday, the Lagos State Government on Friday allayed fears of residents assuring that there would be no road closures as earlier announced.
Briefing journalists at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, the State’s Commissioner for Transportation, Mr Ladi Lawanson said the earlier statement announcing diversion and road closure had been reviewed, adding that residents were free to go about their businesses.
Lawanson, who is also a member of the transport sub-committee for the Presidential visit and the APC rally, said Lagosians should jettison an earlier announcement by the committee to the effect that there would be road closures.
He said: “Lagosians have been very apprehensive that there will be traffic gridlock and we got a lot of feedbacks that we intend to grind Lagos to a halt. People are apprehensive; they think we are going to shut down Lagos; they think movement would be restricted and they are bracing themselves for what they anticipate would be the hardship that would be visited on them by the president’s visit and our own activities.
“The purpose of this press conference is to clarify that and to state emphatically that there will be from zero to minimal adverse effect of the President’s visit tomorrow. I repeat, there will be between zero to the barest minimum amount of disruptions to the normal movement that Lagosians undertake on a Saturday like tomorrow.
“So, there will not be any road closures in Lagos tomorrow and Lagosians are free to go about their normal businesses tomorrow, Saturday,” Lawanson said.
He said adequate arrangement had been firmed up to ensure free flow of traffic, but that residents should expect tight security around the routes which the President is expected to pass through in the course of his visit and the venue of the rally.
“We would just like to communicate that because we are expecting a high caliber personality no less a person than the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the normal security precautions that attend a visit of this nature should be expected.
“The President would visit Lagos tomorrow with the full retinue of security aides that protect him and his entourage but there will not be any road closures and there will be zero to minimal disruptions of normal activities,” the Commissioner said.
Lawanson, who addressed the briefing alongside the General Manager of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Mr Wale Musa and the Lagos State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr Hyginus Omeje, said there would be huge presence of officials of the police, LASTMA, FRSC and other agencies to ensure free flow of traffic around the Surulere axis.
“Around the venue of the rally which is the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere and the adjourning streets are traffic management agencies such as LASTMA, FRSC, Police and other agencies that would support them tomorrow.
“They will handle the traffic management around the venue tomorrow and so people can expect to see a huge presence of our traffic management officers fully on ground to ensure that there is free flow of traffic. We consider it important to clarify this so that we can communicate to Lagosians and give them the assurance that Lagos and especially Surulere would not be on lockdown,” the Commissioner said.
Also speaking, Musa said LASTMA would be deploying tow trucks to promptly evacuate any broken down vehicle and adequate personnel to tackle any gridlock that may arise from the President’s visit and the activities around the Surulere.