MENAFN - Arab News
Mega-city, mega-commute: Lagos and life on the road
(MENAFN -Arab News) Ochuko Oghuvwu is surprisingly chirpy for a man who spends upwards of 30 hours a week in his car, commuting to and from his office in Nigeria’s financial hub, Lagos.
Then again, he has just started the working week after two whole days without having to battle giant pot-holes, monster traffic jams, roadworks, irate drivers and police checkpoints.
Oghuvwu’s stockbroking firm in the Ikoyi area of Lagos is only about 32 kms from his home in Ojo, due west toward the border with neighboring Benin.
The drive to the office should only take 45 minutes to one hour.
But those days are as rare in Lagos as 24 hours of uninterrupted electricity from the national grid. Instead, the trip normally takes him three hours — even longer in the June to September rainy season — despite him being behind the wheel from 5:30 am.
“I wake up early to beat the major traffic,” he told AFP.
“Those that wake up later end up spending more time. On a day like a Monday, if you leave the house at 6:30 am, you spend more than four hours in the car.”
Oghuvwu, a marketing executive in his early 40s, is far from a rare breed in Nigeria’s biggest city. Hundreds of thousands of people like him also spend nearly as much time commuting as the statutory working week in countries such as France.
He could even be considered a late riser. Others who live nearby set off a full hour earlier to beat the infamous “go-slows,” as local call traffic jams.
“We get exhausted. We’re always tired. For somebody in my position, I just lock the door of the office and have a little nap for 20 to 30 minutes,” he said.
The time spent crawling bumper to bumper with other cars, motorbikes and battered yellow taxis, packed buses and overloaded trucks has taken its toll on his Volvo S90.
The constant stop-start means brake pads need checking every other month and the services of panel beaters to smooth out the inevitable dents and scrapes from the quest to keep moving.
But the gruelling commute has also affected his social life and the amount of time he spends with his family.
Ughuvwu’s children, aged between six and 14, are usually asleep when he leaves the house and when he returns.
“At the weekend I don’t go out,” he added. “I mainly stay at home. I don’t want to face the traffic. It’s ruined my social life.”
Officially, Lagos is said to be home to some 12 million people.
But many estimates put the figure at about 21 million, in a city spread over 910 square kms.
New arrivals hunting a slice of Nigeria’s economic growth heap pressure on the already creaking infrastructure. Land shortages and a lack of housing has pushed up real estate and rental prices.
Fuel subsidies and cheap, second-hand cars often imported from Europe have put more vehicles on the road.
As a result, a long commute is a necessary evil for all but the wealthiest.
The managing director of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Dayo Mobereola, admits they need to act now to prevent total gridlock.
MENA News Headlines
|Mar 7 2014||Cement demand to grow on infrastructure projects in Oman ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Infrastructure projects in Oman is expected to reflect a high growth on the cement sector, according to Oman Observer.
Omani government plans to launch developing transport and social ...|
|Mar 7 2014||Aviation sector to register highest growth in ME ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Traffic in air passenger and air cargo is expected to outperform in the Middle East by 2032 compared to all other regions, according to Oman Observer.
Air passenger traffic in the Middle ...|
|Mar 7 2014||UAE's Danube revenue up 17 percent in H2 ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Sales revenue of Danube Group, a leading construction and home interior company in the UAE, was estimated at USD 544 million in 2013, according to Khaleej Times.
Revenue rose by up to 17 ...|
|Mar 7 2014||UAE, Serbia sign USD1 b loan deal ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) UAE's Department of Finance has signed a USD1 billion loan deal with Serbian Finance Minister in a visit to Abu Dhabi, according to Khaleej Times.
The loan deal aims to strengthen ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Cement demand in Oman to grow 6 percent annually ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Cement demand in Sultanate of Oman is expected to grow in the upcoming few years, Times of Oman reported.
Huge infrastructure and tourism projects in the Gulf nation will push cement ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Gulf investors to invest in Moroccan private sector ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) A partnership between Saudi Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and Morocco-based Al Ajial Funds has been signed to invest jointly in Morocco's private ...|
|Mar 6 2014||UAE top importer of Swiss watches in region ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said that the UAE ranked first as the primary Middle Eastern country in the Top Ten list of importers of Swiss watches, Saudi Gazette ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Bahrain oil, gas, water projects at USD14b ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Bahrain has re-asserted itself as a regional powerhouse in the oil & gas as well as power & water sectors, Saudi Gazette reported.
The country has USD14 billion worth of oil, gas power ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Jacobs wins BP contract in Oman ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Jacobs Engineering has been awarded with contract by BP for process and infrastructure work on the greenfield Khazzan project in Oman, Times of Oman reported.
Vice president of Jacobs ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Al Futtaim Carillion wins USD250m contract in Dubai ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Al Futtaim Carillion announced that it has won a contract by Meraas in the UAE, Arabian Business reported.
The USD250.66 million contract is for the construction of the Avenue Phase 2 ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Hilton plans Qatar expansion ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Hilton Worldwide is planning to expand in Qatar with the signing of a management agreement with First Qatar Real Estate Development Company, The Peninsula Qatar.
The management agreement ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Saudi MERS death toll rises to 62 ,AFP|
(MENAFN - AFP) Saudi health authorities said Thursday a man has died from the MERS coronavirus, bringing the death toll from the respiratory disease in the worst-hit country to 62.
The 55-year-old ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Olsen writes off England's World Cup chances ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) Daniel Sturridge scored the only goal of the game with a header eight minutes from time after England had looked set to fail to win at Wembley for a third consecutive game - following ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Sabella blames tiredness for dour showing ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) Sabella's team were nowhere near their best in Bucharest on Wednesday, with captain Lionel Messi particularly underwhelming as he appeared to struggle with illness.
|Mar 6 2014||'Happy' Keane to stay with Galaxy ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) The Ireland international, 33, has made 55 league appearances for the Galaxy, scoring 31 goals and helping them to two MLS Cup titles, while also bagging the club's MVP award last ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Del Bosque predicts bright future for Costa ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) Costa, who represented Brazil in two friendlies before pledging his international loyalty to Spain, where he plays for Atletico Madrid, started against Italy on Wednesday as his new ...|
|Mar 6 2014||International Friendly: Mexico 0 Nigeria 0 ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora)
It was a chance-filled affair at the Georgia Dome, with all three participating goalkeepers - Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico), Vincent Enyeama and Austin Ejide (Nigeria) - all producing ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Flyers soar over Washington in NHL ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) The Flyers and Capitals are among the backlog of teams vying for play-off spots in Metropolitan, with the Flyers sitting second on 72 points, just five clear of the sixth-placed New ...|
|Mar 6 2014||NATO Steps Up Cooperation with Ukraine ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) NATO is stepping up its cooperation with Ukraine while reviewing cooperation with Russia, the NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.
Speaking after talks ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Libya: Niger Extradites Gaddafi's Son Saadi ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) The Libyan government announced today that former leader Muammar Gaddafi's son, Saadi, has been extradited from Niger and is now in custody in Tripoli.
Saadi Gaddafi ...|