The focus of this section is to discuss the common situations that motorists in Nigeria find themselves in: The peculiar problems faced by car users in Nigeria, pertaining to roads, state of cars, traffic, traffic light, road and vehicular officials (LASTMA, FRSC, VIO) amongst others. Expect daily updates on fun and interesting facts about Nigerian roads, being a vehicle owner in Nigeria and generally things we all can relate to. Sit back and enjoy.. It’s going to be a Bumpy Ride!!!
Effect of Road Construction on Road Users
Living on the outskirts of Lagos (areas after berger on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway) has its pros and cons. One of the many cons include major traffic caused by any little incident that happens on the expressway. One of these incidents is road construction. Road construction in Nigeria takes so much time and paperwork to be approved. Even after it has been approved, it takes an equally long time to be completed mainly because the roads have degenerated so much that a lot of work needs to be done on them. Lagos-Ibadan expressway is a road that is constantly in need of repairs probably because the materials used for construction are not of very high quality. Hence, the reconstructed work does not last very long.
Sitting in the bus on my way back from work, my thought went way back to the old days where if you left work from between 5-8 you were sure to experience very horrible traffic that could keep you on the road for hours. This was because of the road construction that was on-going at the time, hence, road users had to make use of only one side of the road and quite a number of people travel these roads as they live on these outskirts and work in Lagos and have to go to work everyday. From my point of view on road construction; though good for the roads and of great benefit to road users when completed, but is very stressful for road users who have to adjust their daily schedules to beat the traffic both going to work and coming back.
This is not peculiar to road users on Lagos-Ibadan expressway as other places in Lagos and elsewhere where roads that are being constructed face these challenges also. The difference is that they usually have alternative routes to get to their destinations but for those on the suburbs, they can’t get to those areas without passing through the expressway. This does not mean that road construction is the only cause of traffic in Lagos, Lagos is a place where traffic occurs for no just cause, probably because the city is very congested and many people ply these roads.
Road construction causing traffic in Lagos
One of the biggest fears of vehicle owners driving under these conditions is the fear of their vehicle breaking down in the night when there is traffic; Very sad.. However, a vehicle that stops at one corner or even in the middle of the road during traffic is unfortunately a common sight to both passersby and car owners. One of the major causes of vehicle breakdown as a result of horrible traffic is overheating. Overheating is a situation where the engine is hotter than it is supposed to be, that is, over 240 Fahrenheit and is most commonly caused by reduction in the radiator fluid. Also, this overheating can happen to any vehicle. It can be avoided by regular vehicle service checks to ensure the radiator fluid, electric coolant and other important features that can cause overheating are in good conditions. Take care of your car so it doesn’t fail you, especially in the gruesome traffic of Lagos.
A perfect picture of a vehicle having overheating problems.
Ban of VIO: Our Boundless Joy, still Full
Vehicle Inspection Office more commonly known as VIO is a federal government agency for inspecting vehicles and ensuring drivers have the adequate skill, attitude and knowledge to drive properly and reduce accidents on Nigerian roads. This mission seemed very noble and worthy but unfortunately the VIO became a menace for Lagosians which ultimately led to their permanent ban from Lagos by the Lagos state governor Akinwunmi Ambode. When my dad heard about the ban of VIO from lagos roads his joy knew no bounds and his is a perfect example of the reaction of other road users in Lagos.
For car owners in Lagos the fear of VIO is the beginning of wisdom. Ever since their emergence on Lagos roads, my dad has painstakingly avoided the Jibowu under bridge route on his way to Unilag or anywhere else in that area, simply because of the presence of VIO in that area. The VIO became a notorious band of hooligans that never failed to terrorize car owners on lagos roads. They confisticated vehicles for no just cause and demanded large sums of money for the vehicles to be returned. Hence, motorists feared for their lives, their cars and their pockets. They equally caused traffic which could be very frustrating for road users. The VIO’s acts became so heinous that motorists were forced to create a Twitter handle @VIOsightings. With the handle road users were able to tweet the locations where VIOs were found with the hashtag #VIOsightings warning others to avoid that route.
After the ‘supposed’ ban, the Lagos state commissioner for Transportation Prince Olanrewaju Elegushi, came out to explain that the VIO had gone for a month training and would be back but the Lagos state governor reiterated with even more precision that the VIO were ultimately banned from Lagos roads and the Federal Road Safety Corps FRSC should limit their activities to Federal roads. This declaration solidified the joy of many Lagos motorists. Finally, the nightmare with the VIOs are over and my dad and other Lagos motorists can drive around without fear of being extorted. It’s been seven months since the ban and our joy is still full…
The nightmare of every Nigerian driver.