Nigeria News Today – The State of Public Transport in Nigeria


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An esteemed regional mediator has expressed relief over recent reports of a coup attempt in Niger, saying the military junta is open to diplomacy rather than military intervention.

The Niger coup

Bola Tinubu took charge of Nigeria’s powerful West African regional bloc last month and immediately clarified to his peers that military coups would no longer be tolerated; five such takeovers had occurred over three years in that region alone. With Niger facing yet another military takeover by rebellious generals who overthrew its government via military coup, Bola Tinubu and other leaders at ECOWAS are pushing for diplomatic solutions, although some leaders may become impatient.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS recently warned the Niger junta that constitutional order must be restored or face reprisals. But the committee has rejected calls for a quick transition to a civilian administration by closing borders, instituting no-fly zones on commercial flights into and out of Niger, and freezing assets held within ECOWAS central and local commercial banks.

Niger’s coup d’etat could have severe repercussions for the Sahel region, where Niger is seen as a critical ally of Western nations in combatting Islamist insurgency and controlling illegal migration to Europe. Yet its implementation risks further weakening this Western protection against terrorist acts in the Sahel, with reports that its military-dominated junta may seek help from Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, which the US has classified as a transnational criminal organization.

The Women’s World Cup

Nigerian women’s football has received an invaluable boost thanks to the Super Falcons, with players from Nigeria potentially finding more opportunities in Europe or North America clubs. The squad features stars from Spain’s top clubs, such as Asisat Oshoala of Barcelona and Rasheedat Ajibade of Atletico Madrid among its ranks.

The success of the African team in the tournament was predicted, yet its realization came as a shock. They have exceeded all expectations by reaching the quarter-finals, an achievement unparalleled for an African side in any prior edition of this event.

Nigeria looks forward to taking on England as European Champions, hoping to be the first African team to win a knockout match at a World Cup tournament.

Nigeria’s success on the world stage has relieved many who had long-awaited evidence that Nigeria could compete. Although renowned as a powerhouse in women’s football, leading up to this tournament was beset by disputes regarding payments to players and coaches, canceled training camps and friendlies, and administrative interference with squad selection processes. Players even staged a sit-in protest at their hotel before competing in this tournament.

The Danfo crisis

Transport in Nigeria’s most populous state, Lagos, is in disarray. Home to over 18 million people, Lagosians face an uphill struggle navigating through this megacity with limited transit options and costly commuting options – even some commuters opting not to use commercial buses but trek short distances instead to their destinations.

At this time, many Nigerians feel powerless against economic difficulties. Although the current administration has attempted to combat the situation by raising fuel subsidies, their effectiveness remains to be seen; many Nigerians have complained about its rise, with one saying it worsens an already dismal economic situation for Nigerians.

Recently, the Lagos State Government issued a 48-hour ultimatum to commercial bus operators known as “danfo drivers” in Ikorodu to move their vehicles away from public spaces into designated motor parks to improve traffic flow and protect lives. This move aimed to enhance traffic flow within Ikorodu.

This directive caused widespread outrage from both transporters and the general public alike, particularly Danfo drivers who spoke to The Cable to oppose it and stated their displeasure at having their fleets replaced by BRT buses; many said they could not meet ends by stopping taking passengers to specific areas such as Mile 12, including market women who bring baskets full of pepper and tomatoes for sale there.

Transport in Lagos

Public transport is the primary mode of travel for many Nigerians, particularly in Lagos, with its 23 million residents and annual urbanization rate of six percent. Unfortunately, Lagos’ public transportation system is chaotic. There are too many private vehicles on the roads combined with excessive reliance on commercial buses (locally called “danfo”), shared taxis, motorcycles, okada tricycles (keke marwa), and boats to provide efficient transit infrastructure solutions, resulting in severe congestion and substandard infrastructure services.

In 2008, the Lagos state government attempted to improve matters. Together with technical assistance from the World Bank, they launched Africa’s inaugural Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor. However, many criticized it for not applying classic BRT features (level loading or fancy stations). However, their success showed that better transportation solutions could exist in Lagos.

Since then, Lagos has opened two corridors and implemented an integrated water transport and public bus system.

Lagos still has much work to do – its buses are often worn and rusty, the city tainted by corruption and incompetence, with drivers alleging being required to pay bribes to traffic management officers frequently harassing or arresting them, while some even accuse authorities of trying to kill them! Transportation officials often engage in free-for-all fights with armed police forces, local security forces, or members of transport unions – it has even become common for Lagos transportation officials themselves to engage in free-for-all fights among themselves as transportation officials fight among themselves against each other with various security forces as well as union representatives!

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