Few weeks after the historic visit of France president, Emmanuel Macron, to the new Afrika Shrine in Ikeja, caused many Lagos residents traffic nightmare, many parts of the state were for several hours yesterday on lockdown for another visit of a Very Important Personality (VIP), the Prime Minister of Britain, Theresa May.
May arrived at the presidential wing of the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos at about 4:20p.m. amid tight security. The major road linking the local wing of the airport to the international section was decorated with Nigerian and the British flags while security personnel were positioned at different locations.
She was received by the governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, where the duo held a brief meeting at the presidential wing of the airport.That was when the trauma on the roads resurfaced. As customary of such august visitors, the roads were suddenly lined up with policemen along all the routes May would be visiting - Salvation Army headquarters in Lagos to meet with some victims of modern day slavery and a meeting with business leaders at FMDQ in Victoria Island.
Just as it was done to Macron during his visit in July, chaotic traffic scenes occurred not only on the restricted roads to the two locations, but also on adjoining and alternative routes that were not restricted. The Third Mainland Bridge going towards the island was blocked by the police, same for the routes from Airport Road to Surulere.
A stranded motorist, Julia Bebiem, who lamented the gridlock, however, thanked the Prime Minister for visiting Lagos. “The potholes on Adeola Hopewell were filled overnight. We should have more of these visitors in town not minding the traffic they bring so that our government can fix our roads. The bad side of it was that we couldn’t get gala, water or anything to buy. Police chased all the street traders off the road.”
Another said: “The government locked down my area today because Theresa May was around. No movement for more than an hour. I just sat in my car and watched them wait for her to pass. The question I want to ask is do they lock down the road when President Muhammadu Buhari is in the UK?”