Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
The Federal Government has maintained the 10pm curfew despite the Lagos State despite the partial closure of the Third Mainland Bridge which is expected to worsen the traffic congestion in strategic parts of the state, The PUNCH has learnt.
The Federal Government had through the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 on June 2, 2020, imposed a curfew from 10pm to 4am nationwide.
The move was expected to prevent the resurgence of nightlife amid the raging pandemic.
However, with the partial closure of Third Mainland Bridge from 11.59pm on Friday, it is expected that traffic congestion will increase in some parts of the state.
Briefing journalists on Thursday, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said only about 25 per cent of the regular traffic on the bridge would be affected while 75 per cent of vehicles that normally ply the route will still have access to move on the bridge during the period of repair.
When contacted on the telephone, the Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said there had not been any communication to the effect that the curfew had been relaxed.
Elkana said the government had announced alternative routes which motorists could use, adding that this would cushion the effect of the partial closure of Third Mainland Bridge.
He subsequently directed The PUNCH to the appropriate authorities.
When contacted, the Spokesman for the Minister of Works and Housing, Hakeem Bello, said, “There is an interface with the Lagos State Government. I expect that the state government will handle it. I will advise you direct your enquiry to the federal controller of works in Lagos but I will find out from the police commissioner to find out what is happening.”
The Third Mainland Bridge which spans over 11.8km is reported to be the busiest in Nigeria.
The bridge along with the Carter Bridge and Eko Bridge connects Victoria Island to the mainland.
Meanwhile, some Nigerians on social media have expressed fear over the 10pm curfew despite the partial closure of the bridge.
A tweep, Segun Awosanya, wrote, “Third Mainland Bridge closure no doubt will increase the pressure on the alternative routes and add more to the logistic woes of Lagosians. Already, oppression by the Nigeria Police even before the 10pm curfew is being recorded and this will get worse. The curfew must be lifted for ease.”
Another tweet by @adetoyeee read, “As the Nigerian government and the Lagos State Government and Babajide Sanwo-Olu begin the sex-month palliative hardship of Third Mainland Bridge closure today, is the 10pm curfew going to be extended or removed totally? We need answers because it is Lagos we are talking about here.”
“That curfew that has been enriching the lives of the Nigeria Police needs to be lifted. You don’t expect me to be in traffic when it is not my fault and then get pulled over,” @shizzie4nizzie tweeted.
The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force, Dr Sani Aliyu, did not respond to calls as of press time.