COMMISSIONER for Information and Strategy in Lagos Gbenga Omotoso has claimed that the traffic in the state is not as serious as widely purported.
Omotoso said this during a stakeholder engagement organised by the Lagos Traffic Radio and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority on Tuesday tagged ‘Repositioning of traffic information agencies for better performance.’
The commissioner argued that it was unfair to say that individuals or tourists lost significant man-hours while plying the state roads.
He said, “Let me say this loud and clear, I would not join the ranks of those who describe Lagos traffic as a nuisance, quoting all manner of figures. I saw one last week saying that an average Lagos tourist loses some incredible man-hours on the road. I felt it was unfair to the government or people that have been employed to manage traffic in Lagos.
“So I contacted some experts and they told me that the figure could not have been right even though it was from a reputable organisation. Some of the facts that they sent to me really showed that the situation is not as bad as people are making us believe.”
In comparing Lagos to London, Omotoso said Lagos was not London which had become the most congested as the world recovered from COVID-19. Quoting figures from his keynote speech, he said that London drivers lost an average of 1,148 hours to congestion last year and the impact led to a loss of £1211 per driver.
“The 2021 global traffic scorecard shows that London tops the list, followed by Paris, Brussels, Moscow, Chicago and Rome. The others in the top 10 are Columbia, Instanbul in Turkey, among others. Lagos is not here, not even in the first 20. This shows that the Governor Babajide Sanwoolu administration is not joking with traffic management,” he added.
While appreciating the Lagos Traffic Radio and LASTMA, he acknowledged that it was too early to declare victory, noting that the state had been getting results. He noted that people were unhappy due to ongoing constructions by both state and the federal governments, but he appealed to residents to be patient.
He explained that Lagos would soon get into the rainy season, which was why they utilised November to April to build as many roads as possible.
Similarly, the Commissioner of Transportation Frederic Oladehinde charged LASTMA to enforce the use of bus stops and terminals and also engage and remove illegal street trading on roads to improve travel time.
Oladehinde, who was represented by Abdul-Hafeez Gbolahan Toriola, urged LASTMA to utilise sections 22, 23 of the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law of 2018 to drive the reforms.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport Olowoshago Kamardeen, who was also present at the event, said the government was considering a single ticket that would be applicable all through Lagos State in such a way that minions would no longer collect dues on the road.
Meanwhile, Lagos was listed as one of the top congested cities in the world for 2021 by renowned economist Bismark Rewane, in a recent Zoom session organised by the First Bank.
Rewane said Lagos commuters spent 1,080 hours in traffic jams compared to London residents who spent 148 hours.
Last year, Danne Institute for Research, a Lagos-based research institute, said the state lost about N4 trillion yearly as a result of its notorious traffic congestion problem.
The institute’s Connectivity and Productivity Report estimated the economic cost of the traffic as 14.12 million hours lost by Lagosians while commuting every day.