It's a dog's life, as Nigerians groan under fuel scarcity

Harrowing experience at filling stations

By Ken Tadaferua

If you are driving from Sangotedo, one of the Lagos suburbs beyond Ajah, to Victoria Island, you ought hit destination in 40 minutes, max. But that is on a normal day.

Today, and indeed the past three days, have been particularly abnormal. Driving from Sangotedo to Victoria Island now takes five harrowing hours, min.

So smart drivers who do not want to die young, drive instead to Epe, then to Ijebu-Ode taking the Lagos-Benin expressway to the Lagos-Ibadan expressway on route to Lagos through the Third Mainland Bridge to Victoria Island. That is a journey of three hours, max.

That way, some two hours is saved from the heavy fuel jams infested Ajah to Victoria Island road. Huge number of citizens live in the Ajah-Lekki corridor with millions more pouring in daily to fill large numbers of new estates and personal homes. Just as well, government tax coffers is ringing nonstop like crazy cash registers, raking in billions of Naira from taxes it is cleaning out from the citizens in the corridor.

Yet there is only one road cutting right through the middle of the crowded, 80 kilometers long Epe-Ajah-Lekki corridor. The only road to get in and out of the area. Talks of a coastal road on the edge of the Atlantic has long disappeared like mists of the morning. There are no pipe borne water, nary a public school or public hospital in that corridor.

But there is the irony of highly visible prosperity: fantastic mansions, massive concrete fences, bore holes and water treatment equipment, schools of maiguards and personal security teams with mobile policemen, huge smoke belching generators, stinking gutters that overflow into massive floods during the rains, prohibitively expensive private schools and most importantly, arrogant insensitivity to environment or neighbour. 

They have little time, off their personal luxury, to get the government to deliver services or even the coastal road. Everyone is a prancing local government and life just goes on.

Add the posturing folks to the agony of lack of basic infrastructure and social services, then stir in an uncaring government focused only on tax gobbling, what you get served in the Epe-Lekki axis is the worst in a dog's life.
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