Lagos residents raise alarm over danger posed by abandoned vehicles

Some Lagos residents have decried the danger posed by increasing number of abandoned and disused vehicles on street corners, roads and highways.

The residents said that the majority of the vehicles have become harbingers of criminals, toilets and mini-dump sites.

According to them, apart from being a haven for criminals and storage of their deadly weapons, destitute and mentally-deranged have found a home in them, making wherever the vehicles are parked environmental nuisance.

These abandoned disused vehicles are seen around mechanic workshops, police stations and street corners, in front of houses and on highways among others.

It would be recalled that on March 8, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Usman Alkali Baba, ordered the immediate evacuation of all impounded vehicles and unregistered exhibits from police stations across the country.

The order followed the unprofessional manner the vehicles were stacked within police facilities, causing nuisance and disgusting sight.

The IGP had expressed dissatisfaction over the practice of stockpiling vehicles recovered from crime scenes or those whose ownership were being contested.

While some communities in Ikorodu, Iyana Ipaja and Epe Local Government Areas, have set up task forces to secure their environment, some areas are calling for government initiative and actions to tackle the menace generally.

A public Analyst, Mr Sunday Podo, said the lack of maintenance culture reflecting in our national life was what was being exhibited on our roads, street corners and highways by owners of abandoned disused vehicles.

“Generally, our attitude to asset maintenance is very poor in Nigeria; even our governments cannot maintain critical facilities like roads, schools, stadium, bridges and monuments among others.

“Same thing with individuals who buy cars and drive them without proper maintenance until such cars breakdown and they go home abandoning them on the roads.

“Many leave their vehicles in mechanic workshop for years,” he said.

Podo said that many people bought vehicles which their spare parts and expertise were not readily available.

“When they patronise trial and error road-side technicians who further damage the vehicle, because they equally lack the necessary expertise, such vehicles become demobilise permanently.

“Another factor responsible for abandoned disused vehicles on our roads are cases of “fake spare parts”, otherwise known as Taiwan.

“Nigerians also have the penchant for big and flashy cars, their mechanism history they do not know. Most of such vehicles later become ‘condemned iron’, in local parlance,” he said.

Podo said that the solution to the menace is for both local and state governments to empower their road transport departments or agencies to remove such vehicles after a notice of seven or more days to their owners.

He said a huge fine should be paid before such vehicles are released to their owners so as to serve as a deterrent to others.

“And if owners fail to show up within the stipulated time frame, the government should enact laws that could empower them to auction such vehicles to members of the public,” he said.

Mr Sesan Oduolowu, a business man in Ikorodu, said that government had relented on monitoring and removal of abandoned vehicles as being done in the past.

He said that the state and the local governments should set up committees that would be saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that streets were free of vehicles capable of causing obstruction, traffic jam and littering of refuse in Lagos State.

Oduolowu said that abandoned disused vehicles on streets also serve as hideouts to miscreants, sometimes at odd hours of the day before perpetrating their evil acts at night.

“Government has to do something to reduce increasing number of abandoned disused vehicles for a cleaner Lagos.

“Some of the vehicles also serve as armoury where some miscreants and hoodlums keep their weapons before engaging in a dastardly act at night,” he said.

Oduolowu said there should be a department in the Ministry of Environment to checkmate and monitor vehicles abandoned for too long on the roads.

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