In the midst of the festive season, Nigeria’s police said they have unmasked a sinister plan to blow up the Third Mainland Bridge.
It is a scary news headline but we must think about the consequence of the terrible mishap that was averted.
The bridge is the longest in West Africa enmeshed in the heart of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.
To say the Third Mainland Bridge is the lifewire of Lagos is understatement. The bridge connects the Lagos Mainland to the Lagos Island faster than Ikorodu Road, the other alternative route that connects the Mainland to other suburbs and the state capital.
According to the authorities, the criminal gang who planned to carry out the evil plan claimed to be part of the militants in the Niger Delta. They had planned to blow up the bridge by November
If the veracity of claims and confessions of the suspected militants certain, then Nigeria must have averted the worst disaster that could have befalling Lagos and the entire country.
Everyday, over 500,000 cars pass through the bridge to access various parts of Lagos Island and other suburbs close to the Island. Thousands of lives could have been lost, a an emergency disaster beyond proportions would have ensued.
Apart from the tragic loss of lives, Lagos without the Third Mainland Bridge is a tragedy. The city and the entire state will cease to function for many months to come. Ikorodu Road will be overwhelmed beyond anyone’s imagination. There is no traffic control system and or technology that can handle the resultant gridlock and agonies that will be experienced in the midst of the ‘madness’.
More than 70% of economic activities will be paralysed, companies will declare force majeure, laying off staff and shutting down operations. Lagos’ economy will immediately sink into a recession by the end of the second quarter of 2017. Nigeria will become a ghost of itself as the only buffer for its sick economy has been cut.
This is the more reason why all the apprehended criminals must be prosecuted speedily according to the law to ensure they serve as a deterrent to other criminal gangs who might want to destroy Lagos, the only hope Nigeria has to survive its trying times.
While the federal government must ensure the root cause of these criminal acts are resolved via dialogue and deliberate, sincere and consistent development of the Niger Delta region, criminal gangs must be dealt with to ensure other gangs and the underworld of the region are not emboldened.