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New Year: Lagos slowly gets back to the grind, roads traffic-free

Workers in Lagos State resumed work yesterday as businesses also opened shop after the Christmas and New Year festive season, but as Daily Trust observed,…

Workers in Lagos State resumed work yesterday as businesses also opened shop after the Christmas and New Year festive season, but as Daily Trust observed, the hustle and bustle the metropolis is known for is yet to come alive.

At the Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa-Ikeja, our correspondent observed a lull in activities as many civil servants appeared not to have reported yet for duty. In some of the ministries, agencies and parastatals visited, the offices were still under lock and key, while in some others that were opened, only a few staff members were seen at their desks.

At some of the large car parks serving the ministries at the Secretariat, only a few vehicles could be seen, while many of the staff buses which were normally busy conveying workers to and fro, could be seen parked in the premises.

An official of the State Ministry of Agriculture, who declined to mention his name because he was not authorized to speak to journalists, said many workers working with the state government would not turn out at their respective duties a day after a major holiday like the New Year, adding that serious activities of government were not expected to start until Monday January 7.

“Officially, the resumption day is today, January 2. But many of our colleagues had travelled. To expect that they would all have returned to start working immediately is to expect too much,” the civil servant said.

Besides government offices, many business owners were yet to open shop. In normally busy business centres like the electronics and clothing market on Lagos Island, vehicle spare parts market at Ladipo-Mushin and general purpose markets at Alaba, Okokomaiko and Trade Fair Complex, most of the shops remained locked.

Our correspondent learnt that these business centres are populated mostly by Igbo traders who had travelled to the Southeast to celebrate the Christmas and New Year season and would not start coming back to Lagos to resume their business activities until next week.

The non-resumption of workers in many offices and lull in business activities as many residents of the state were yet to return to Lagos is impacting on the traffic situation. Our correspondent observed that many roads in Lagos with a notoriety for gridlock were hold-up free yesterday.

Some of the major roads around the Secretariat in Alausa and Agidingbi communities were free of the usual heavy traffic jams. From the popular Lateef Jakande road that leads to the Secretariat, to Kudirat Abiola Way, Oregun/Ojota and Obafemi Awolowo Way Ikeja, the roads were free of traffic hold-up.

Commercial bus operators, while savouring the lack of stress of traffic jams, also lamented a quick fill of commuters in their buses.

“The traffic-free roads you are witnessing is mixed blessings for us.

While it makes our journey easier and faster, it is also taking much longer for us to fill our vehicles with passengers. In the last few days, some of us who usually ply the Ojota-Secretariat routes have been struggling to get our buses filled with passengers. But we know the situation will improve by next week when most of those who travelled out of Lagos must have returned,” Bidemi Lawani, a commercial bus driver said at Ojota.

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