Commercial activities in some parts of Lagos metropolis ground to a halt Thursday as President Muhammadu Buhari arrived the state for the inauguration of the Lagos-Ibadan railway project.
The ever-busy Yaba market, some hundreds of metres away from the Mobolaji Johnson Railway Station in Ebute-Metta where the president was billed to visit, was a ghost town. Shops were closed and a handful of traders lurked around.
Taiwo Subair, an official of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority, said he had to trek from Oyingbo to Alagomeji bus top but could not go further because of the road blockade by the security operatives.
Mr Subair said he was aware of the president’s visit but did not envisage it would be as “tough as this.”
“This time around, there is no way,” he said.
“They should have created an alternative route for people to pass. I’m going back home. I have been here (Alagomeji bus stop) for over three hours.”
A POS operator, who simply identified herself as Hannah, said the roads leading to her kiosk were also blocked.
“I just heard he was coming,” she said. “I have lost money today since they blocked the route. They blocked everywhere. They ought to have informed us that they will block the vicinity here,” she said.
“My shop is on the next street here, even if they allow me to operate, who will patronise me?”
Desmond Kalu, an interior decor trader, said business had been halted since Tuesday especially for traders along the railway in Yaba due to the president’s visit.
“Everywhere is down, we are struggling to feed, it is not easy for us. Since on Tuesday, we traders from the railway terminal to BRT we have not been doing business because they said Buhari is coming,” he said.
Mr Kalu lamented that there have been poor sales since the beginning of the week.
In Ikeja, the state capital, where the president was also scheduled to visit, roads were cordoned off and commuters forced to trek long distances under the hot, humid sun.
Bashiru Sanusi, a stranded commuter, said the commissioning should have been done virtually so as not to disrupt commercial activities.
“People’s business should not be impeded. This is a military regime camouflaging as a democracy.”
A bus driver, popularly called Ebony, who plies the Ojuelegba to Yaba route, said police officers came in the morning to “chase” them away.
“When the police came in the money to chase us, I went home to sleep before it leads to something else.
“We don’t have an option but to take our fate like that.”