Nigerians living in major cities are used to getting into traffic gridlock daily. It is worse in cities which also serve as the state capital where they have to contend with blocked roads or being chased off roads to give way for the motorcade of those in power or vehicles of numerous security agencies.
But for those living in the Federal Capital City, Abuja, their predicament is further worsened by the movement of presidential motorcade. Those, who use the Umar Musa Yar’adua Way, which leads to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, have a tale of woes to tell every time the President is either moving in or out of the capital city. The road is, on that day, taken over by security agents and for hours closed to the traffic.
This is a major gateway to the federal capital, which also links the north with the southern part of the country. It also serves as a route to many residents of the satellite towns of Kuje, Gwagwalada, Kwali and Abaji. These towns host millions of people who daily commute to Abuja where they work or transact business. University of Abuja and the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital are also served by this popular road.
It is also the road that serves as the major gateway into the country to the international community, who come in to carry out some international assignment or invest in the country.
We recall that few days to his inauguration in 2015, the President instructed police and military security personnel attached to him to respect traffic regulations during his movements. He said, “arrogance of power, lawlessness and disregard for the rights and convenience of fellow citizens would have no place in his government”.
He frowned at the situation where citizens are punished at traffic points and public roads because of the “arrogant lawlessness of the leaders”.
Similarly, the President stopped the tradition of praying the weekly Friday prayer at the National Mosque, which he said was meant to save fellow Nigerians, who come to worship, the inconvenience his presence often caused.
We believe it is absolutely important to provide adequate security to the nation’s number one citizen. This is more imperative in view of the numerous security challenges facing the country, which put its leaders on the spot. However, in this age of technology and given the absence of alternative routes, it is important those in charge of these movements to begin to think out of the box. We advise that they should begin to think of using helicopters as well as the numerous technological devices available to ensure that presidential movements cause minimal inconveniences to those who use the route. They should also think of other options available to ensure safe and smooth movement of our President to and from the airport. It will also assist if adequate information is given well ahead of such closures to enable people to prepare for alternatives.
In doing this they will be saving lives, jobs and businesses of millions of Nigerians. They will also help in furthering the goal of this administration of creating an investor friendly Nigeria.