A danfo free Lagos is the desire of not only Lagos state government but of virtually everyone who have keyed into the mega city project of Lagos. But the question that is difficult to answer is if it would be possible to clear the danfo menace out of the Lagos city in three years.
The question is in two fold, the first being, Does the Lagos state government have the requisite infrastructural fund needed to create an effective alternative that is befitting of Lagos as a mega city in the next three years?, the second fold is: can the state phase out the yellow buses in three years?
Beginning from the second question, I have no doubt that the Lagos state government had thought this through and they have been on it for more than a year, that is why the governor, Akinwunmi Ambode vowed to ban the yellow buses off the road in 2017 which is not feasible, but I want to work with his three years plan, it is actually possible to face out the popular danfo buses out of Lagos if the state government is committed to this goal, but our sceptism is based on the timeline not on the possibility of the policy.
It is advisable the state government starts by evicting them from major highways. There is no problem in considering a systematically timed ban for each of the major cities and areas that make up Lagos, this would also be dependent upon the success recorded in the areas where it has been banned and the availability of resources to diffuse the alternatives to the next areas for the implementation of the ban.
The Lagos state government can draw a timeline of eviction for each of the 20 local government areas in the state, which would follow systematically, this process helps them to make resources available for the next stage of the ban, with this, the state would give itself space and room to observe the success in areas where it has been implemented and work on improving it in other areas.
But that is not to say it is not possible to go all out to phase them out simultaneously if the state have the requisite resources to do so. The state government would need a huge chunk of infrastructural fund to create an alternative. But eventually to achieve this face-out irrespective of the timing, the state would have to be militant and courageous in its approach and it has to do this with an unparallel sense of urgency.
This policy is long overdue, the danfo minibuses have become a menace to the city, they are definitely blight on the mega city status of the state and a reminder of the fact that it’s either the government is handicapped on how to tackle the problem or that the people in government are also danfo drivers!
The buses have caused more havoc than good, they are major causes of accidents and gridlocks on Lagos roads, their drivers are notorious and are bent on violating every traffic law, they are indiscipline with large number of them being thugs and touts. These buses have become means of committing all forms of crimes, including kidnapping, robbery in form of the popular ‘one chance’. They are definitely a dent on the mega city status of Lagos.
It is important that the state phase out the yellow danfo buses but we doubt if they can effectively and simultaneously do that within the time frame.
The state might not immediately have the required infrastructural funds required to create an alternative. But it seems to have an economic credibility to get the funds from other sources and to attract foreign direct investment into the transport sector.
However the governor. Akinwunmi Ambode recently said his administration would launch a public infrastructure bond of N100billion that would span the period of seven to 10 years, and that they would start with a N30 billion sinking fund this year.
I believe the state might not immediately be able muster the funds needed for this bold project, but with proper planning and bold initiative such as this, it would get the resources, but previous precedence has shown that the timeline for the ban might not be feasible.