Lagos State Government has reversed itself over the closure of 18 routes for the All Progressives Congress (APC) mega rally to canvass votes for President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday.
The rally holds at the Teslim Balogun stadium, Surulere with the state initially declaring some roads will be closed to ensure easy passage for Buhari and his entourage.
But the government said there would be no more road closure, urging Lagosians to go about their normal businesses on Saturday during the rally.
It, however, declared residents should expect an increased presence of traffic personnel at Surulere and adjoining streets because of the mega rally.
Many Lagosians have expressed apprehensions the proposed closures would lead to a complete lockdown of the nation’s commercial nerve.
Commissioner for Transportation Ladi Lawanson gave the clarification in chat with reporters at Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa on Friday.
Also present at the briefing were: 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) Hyginus Omeje.
Lawanson said the earlier statement announcing diversion and road closure had been reversed, adding that residents were free to go about their businesses.
He said the state government was reversing its earlier position in conjunction with federal operatives and the APC to ensure minimal discomfort and minimal disruptions of businesses.
The commissioner, who is also a member of the transport sub-committee for the Presidential visit and the APC rally, 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.
“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 today.
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“So, there will not be any road closures in Lagos today and Lagosians are free to go about their normal businesses today, Saturday,” Lawanson said.
He said adequate arrangement had been firmed up to ensure free flow of traffic but 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.
He, however, 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,” the commissioner said.