By Yemi Adeleye
Lagos – The Lagos State Government on Sunday cautioned operators of event centres, property owners, religious centres and other places of attraction to desist from compounding traffic gridlock on roads around their locations.
The Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, read the riot act to owners of event centres and places of attraction to desist from activities that could obstruct free flow of traffic.
The commissioner specifically cited the Lekki-Expressway where several man-hours were lost on Saturday due to traffic gridlock and apologised to residents for the road blockage occasioned by activities of the event centres.
‘’Henceforth, any social event where the number of expected visitors exceeds 50, organizers of such event must notify the General Manager of LASTMA in advance, especially, if it is perceived that their property would not accommodate large numbers of vehicles that may be brought by their guests.
“The LASTMA authority will be on hand to advise them on what to do rather than allowing their visitors to block roads as this will attract stiffer penalties if caught.
“The state government will no longer condone parking of vehicles on the roadside, failure of the operators/ property owners to make provision for adequate parking space for their guests,” Oladeinde said.
He said that the gridlock was caused by motorists who could not secure parking space in the venues of their social gathering and resorted to parking their vehicles on the roadsides, causing permanent traffic gridlocks.
The commissioner stated that it was regrettable that innocent citizens who were going about their lawful duties were forced to share in the pains caused by merrymakers.
Oladeinde warned that any commercial event centre, place of worship, night club/lounge, or private property owners caught on account of illegal blockage of roads by their attendants would be closed until their owners paid the stipulated fines.
He said vehicles towed for infraction or unlawful parking offences will not be released until the corresponding amount is paid.
According to him, there are so many event centres and places of worship on Lekki expressway operating without adequate parking spaces for their visitors.
He added that most traffic gridlocks being experienced in that axis were caused by people parking vehicles on the road.
Oladeinde warned that the state government would no longer tolerate “this act of indiscipline from any quarters.
‘’Many of these event centres and churches do not have enough spaces for their visitors especially on Lekki/ Epe expressway, most often, public roads are used for their parking.
He charged the event centres owners to operate within the ambit of the law.
According to him, relevant sections of the state traffic laws that guide the operation of event centres in the state as regard parking of vehicles is still in place.
Oladeinde warned that the state government would not hesitate to apply the law on any erring event centre or private property owner whose attendants block the road on account of inadequate parking space.
‘’Efforts are now being made to address these critical traffic scenario and we will ensure that what happened on Lekki Corridor on December 14, 2019 is never repeated.
“Let me, therefore, warn all event centres managers once again that they are now under obligation to notify the LASTMA Authority of their scheduled events plans so that LASTMA can as well plan for efficient traffic flow in the area, failure to abide by this regulations, will attract stiff penalty.
The commissioner said the administration of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu was poised to tackle the menace of traffic gridlocks.
He urged the residents to continue to support the 6-pillar development agenda of the state government for a traffic free flow and more prosperous Smart City Lagos