The Guardian (Nigeria)
Sallah ram sales at Kara market halt movement on Lagos- Ibadan Expressway
AHEAD of Eid el Kabir celebration, Lagosians, yesterday thronged the popular Kara market, located along the LagosIbadan expressway for their Sallah rams.
Eid al- Adha, Arabic for Festival of the Sacrifice, is one of the latter holidays celebrated among Muslims.
It honours the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience to God’s command. Before Ibrahim could sacrifice his son, however, Allah provided a lamb to sacrifice instead.
Muslim faithful often commemorate the day with slaughtering of rams.
Many of them, used the weekend to purchase theirs, thereby causing a near stampede at the market.
This resulted in severe gridlock on both sides of the highway, leaving motorists and commuters stranded, while passengers trekked long distances to get to their destinations.
Although, officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps ( FRSC) and other agencies like the Ogun State Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps ( TRACE) , battled to maintain decorum on the road, the gridlock stretched to Mobil Fuel Station outbound Lagos and Mountain Top University for those moving into Lagos.
Even those, who boarded commercial motorcycles, rode on risky adjoining earth roads. Many of the service providers capitalised on the situation to hike the fare.
For example, a ride from the Long Bridge to Berger that normally goes for N200 for each passenger, was hiked to N500, while a ride from Mowe to Berger, rose from N500 to N1,000.
A commuter, Mr. Monday Onah, who had to alight from a bus on the Long Bridge, said he left Mowe at 10: 00a. m., only to reach the bridge about 12noon.
Onah paid another N500 from Long bridge to Berger.
Another commuter, Madam Ngozi Umeh, who took a motorcycle from Warewa to Berger using the earth road , was thrown inside a mud during the voyage.
She was angry that government and traffic agencies could allow traders to block the road in the name of buying rams.
According to her, it amounts to insensitivity on the part of concerned authorities to allow traders to block a major high way without recourse to commuters and motorists.
She advised government to either move the market away from Kara or ensure that buyers do not park on the road to make purchases.
An officer of the FRSC, who spoke on condition of anonymity said, they were overwhelmed by the number of traders and lorries that brought rams from the North.
According to him, there was limited space for buyers to park in the market, considering the number of lorries and rams available for sale as well as the state of the market.
He agreed that the best option would be to relocate the market because of its proximity to the road.