Traffic control, security, and politics

Traffic control, security, and politics

By Dayo Sobowale

Traffic control in simple terms is the control of goods, vehicles and people efficiently and safely. Nothing illustrates its failure more vividly  and tragically,  just   this last    week, than the killing of 30 people and the burning of vehicles by Boko  Haram in a village  where travellers  had   taken refuge   for   the night  because the  5 pm  time for them to go through the major gate to  Maiduguri    had  passed. Closed  city gates are an ancient  phenomenon and are  not expected in modern times, but  they, like closed borders have become the vogue  because of terrorism, Islamic insurgency, crime, human trafficking, kidnapping, and drug peddling   nowadays. Let  me say  that the Maiduguri    massacre  while  quite  unpardonable and condemnable    is not peculiar  to  Nigeria.  Just  as the banning of Okadas in   some Lagos environs recently was a hangover from  security  concerns on road safety   and traffic control   one  can  see why  Donald    Trump  is building walls  against Mexicans he called criminals and drug peddlers.  And why  nations like Poland, Hungary, Czech and Slovak  Republics are building e electric   and     barbed  wires  to shut out migrants or  terrorist  they  perceive  to be dangerous to the safety and movement  of people,  goods and  vehicles in their nations.

Today I  take another look at  the Maiduguri Gateway massacre,  as well  as the manner of traffic  control   in Nigeria’s  commercial  capital Lagos,   and lean  on the shrewd  observation of a Lagos  legal  guru who  told  me in plain terms in a discussion recently,  that  traffic  control and the rule of  law  on our roads  have  failed  dismally  and government  should  do  a fast  rethink. The  Maiduguri disaster showed the failure of government and security in Borno  State  and the Governor  has asked for a quick  and decisive military  solution  from  the  Federal  government   to  resolve the bloody issue  and stop   the killings.  The  fact  that the Chief of Army staff recently  told his audience recently  that Boko  Haram are everywhere    and even in  Lagos should  embolden the Lagos  state  government  to  tighten its Okada  ban  as the massive traffic congestion that has taken  over Lagos  since the  ban  is a contrived fight back  or  backlash  by those who  have a stake in having  the state at the  mercy  of  Okada  riders .It   is good   that  the state  has rightly  identified   Okadas   as a danger to traffic  safety as well as a security risk  in  Lagos   state. The pragmatic  thing for the state government  is to make the ban durable  and  sustainable  in every   sense   of its implementation    and  not succumb  to  the blackmail of the orchestrated traffic  congestion,   which should  fizzle  out once the government puts in place a good traffic control plan  that  takes cognizance of traffic  congestion spot s especially at  peak   traffic   times.

The  goal  here is not to make road  users and their vehicles sitting ducks for massacre by  criminals and terrorists  like Boko  Haram in a  busy  traffic   mega city like Lagos. Toll  gates and highly  congested traffic routes like Third Mainland  and Eko  bridges as  well  as the toll  gates at the Lekki  Express  way  shoud  be decongested and policed at  peak  go  slow traffic  periods  to ensure safety  and security of our citizens and their  vehicles  because  that is the duty of  government. As at  now Mile Two on the  way  out of  Lagos to Badagry  looks like a war  zone with a trailer blocking the  three  lane route   to Apapa and  Tin  Can  Island. Dozens   of  Okadas  and their  riders  are packed menacingly on the Expressway   as the route  is not covered   by the Okada  ban  but  the menacing and defiant  looks and rough riding of the Okadas   there can  only    buttress  the     government’s  wisdom  and rationale  for  the ban  in some parts   of the megacity. Of    course  Traffic  control  in terms of  law and  order   seems  totally   absent  in such     an  environment.

One can therefore without the president saying a word deduce that he is distraught at the massacre at Maiduguri gate. The governor too has shown his grief. But in a presidential system that we practice the buck stops on the table of both the state governor and the president and they must accept full responsibility for the killings and make amends

Let us now revisit the Maiduguri  Gateway  massacre of travellers taking refuge in a village, Auno, because the road had  been  closed for  the night.  Let  me state that  I appreciate  the fact  that the  President  has visited Maiduguri on his return  from the African  Union  Conference of Heads of  Governments in Addis  Ababa,  Ethiopia.  It  is   however the duty of the  Borno  state and the Federal  government   to  ensure  that such a  road  massacre  does  not  occur  again. If  the gates have  been closed as reported,  the government or the Army  should  have provided  visible security to  those who  could not beat  the closure  deadline.  Even  refusing access after the closure time could produce a Trojan Horse scenario when the gates are opened   the following day  for latecomers   penetrated     by  insurgents and terrorists to come in.  In  this  Maiduguri massacre, Boko  Haram  came out of the Trojan  Horse   on  the   outskirts    of  Maiduguri and  massacred innocent  Nigerians   shut  out  in the cold  at  night  by their  own  security  outfit  because they  came late  to  the road  gate. This  was a reckless  way  of controlling road traffic   and  should  be replaced by a new  security  strategy  that  puts the safety of  life and property  of  road  users as its top  goal  and objective.

On  the political  front  it has been  pointed out that the president  had the largest  votes in this election and reelection in the Borno  state environment even  with the bloody  distraction and menace of  Boko  Haram to  peaceful  voting in the area. One  can  therefore without  the president saying a word deduce that  he  is distraught  at  the massacre  at  Maiduguri  gate.  The governor too has  shown his  grief.  But  in a presidential  system  that we practice the buck  stops  on  the table  of  both  the state  governor  and the president and they  must  accept  full  responsibility for  the killings and make amends. This  they  can  do  by taking  actions  that will  deter Boko  Haram from thinking and acting as if it can  kill Nigerians  with  impunity  and get away  with it.  The  US    president Donald  Trump is known  by American  enemies as a leader who  does not joke  with American   lives and would retaliate if  Americans are killed  anywhere. It  is high  time that both  the Borno  State governor and our  President took  the   fight  to Boko  Haram to  really   hurt  it  in order  to deter and stop it  masterfully  from  killing innocent  Nigerians. We  have   had  enough of the handwringing  and mourning.  We  need protective  action  that will  deter  and  stop the killings of  innocent Nigerians like   the one at Auno  village    outside  Maiduguri  recently.  That  surely  is  the duty of any  elected government including both the Borno  and the Federal  governments. Once again long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Author: Gabriel Ogunjobi

Source: https://thenationonlineng.net/traffic-control-security-and-politics/

Leave a Reply