On Thursday, March 29, 2018, Lagos Mainland residents and other adjoining communities faced a torrid time accessing various locations following road closures as President Muhammadu Buhari officially visited the state and also commissioned the newly built Ikeja bus terminal.
The commissioning was done amidst fanfare with residents and others alike in enthusiastic mood owing to the various offerings and the impact the new terminal will have on businesses and individual lives.
This was following by the prompt unveiling of the air-conditioned buses to be used immediately the terminal begins operation by the government.
However, exactly 224 days after the highly celebrated commissioning, the terminal is yet to breathe to life.
InsideMainland gathered from sources that at the time of commissioning, some portions of the imposing terminal were yet to be completed. This led to the continuation of construction works on the site even after the commissioning amidst pomp and pageantry.
Presently, the buses billed to be used at the terminal to convey passengers to various destinations are parked and left unattended to in the terminal.
In addition, some parts of the terminal are under lock and key while construction work continues on another portion on the facility.
This development has dampened the hope residents and businesses owners who had high hopes that the commencement of operations at the terminal will have a positive effect on their businesses.
Speaking to InsideMainland, a food vendor, Mrs. Onoriode, located few metres away from the facility said her hopes were dashed few weeks after the commissioning of the terminal. “I had mixed feelings the day I closed my shop for the official commissioning of the terminal. I was sad because I had planned to sell to my customers and those who would come to there to see Buhari and his people.
“But after missing that day, I became worried because I expected people to start coming to the terminal to use. I thought the government wanted to finalize plans on other basic things needed but was surprised weeks later when nothing happened,” she said.
“When they brought the new buses too, I thought something was about to happen but several weeks later, it is the same story,” Mrs. Onoriode added.
Also reacting, a resident who gave his name as Jamiu Olalekan said current realities show that the government was way behind schedule to commence operations on the facility before its commissioning.
“Looking at the current situation clearly, you will agree with me that the government rushed to commission the terminal. Why make a huge noise about the commissioning when you know clearly that the place is not ready for use. It is a huge investment and one that needs serious attention to ensure it functions properly,” he said.
Meanwhile, commenting on the lack of operations at the facility, the Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Ladi Lawal, told SaharaReportes that the terminal hasn’t been put to use yet because its functionality is hinged on other uncompleted terminals such as Yaba, Oyingbo and Oshodi.
“It is true that the bus terminal was commissioned but those are two components of a very holistic approach to solving Lagos’ transportation problem. There are issues of bus shelters because when those buses take off from those terminals, they are meant to drop people along the way. Some of those places are those shelters which are still under construction,” he said.
He further explained that route planning, route mapping and assigning of routes to buses still need to be completed before the operation starts.