A FIELD TRIP TO BADAGRY AND SEME BORDER
It was a two days field work exercise of the Post Graduate Students of Transportation Planning and Management of the University of Lagos which took place on 21st-23rd July, 2016. The purpose of the trip was for a field research within Badagry environs, the focus of the research ranges from transportation modes used, economic activities in the area, border activities and indigene’s views on issues pertaining to their well-being within Badagry. It was indeed an experience!
In our scholarly entourage is one of Nigeria’s erudite personality when it comes to transportation issues, a versatile authority in the field of human mobility Prof S.I Oni (the Dean of the faculty of Social Sciences, the University of Lagos) also in the team of experts/trainers is Dr Charles Asenime (Head of School of Transports, Lagos State University) and of-course our very own Dr E. Ege (the Coordinator of the Post Graduate Masters in Transportation Planning and Management of the University of Lagos).
The first of our visitation after checking-in at the hotel was the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Office at Badagry that was at exactly 4:30pm on the 21st July, 2016 . The visit was important because the FRSC is a core partner of the department when it comes to research and advocacy as regards road safety across Nigeria. We were welcomed by the Assistant Corps Commander of Badagry unit Mr F.A Bakare, a versatile teacher who used his experience at the agency for many years to paint the true picture of what exists on the roads on a day to day basis. He talked about issues pertaining to road safety, what causes accidents on our roads and ways to prevent it. He said and i quote “the job of reducing accident cannot be done alone by the FRSC but that there is need for a collaborative effort”, he further said that “the FRSC can only guide you but cannot save you” so for us to be save, it depends on our behaviour on the road while driving. What excited me was while concluding his lecture he said “the FRSC is looking into putting road safety in school curriculum across the country”. This for me is a very important step in building the minds of the young ones towards being safety conscious at a very young age, thumbs up for the FRSC for such a unique initiative.
After series of questions and answers session, we were given a light refreshment before proceeding to the next location which is the Seme border.
We got to Seme border around 6:25pm. Seme border is a border with it’s own life! The border has just being renovated by the Federal Government with modern facility so that illegal border crossing can be reduced and a formal data gathering can be achieved through a controlled migrant movement,however it is not yet lunched.
The economic activities at the border was enormous has buying and selling was the order of the day. A bag of rice sells at N9,000 on the spot compared to N20,000 in the city, a 4 yards Ankara cloth sells for as low as N900. One is not surprise that a lot of illegal smuggling takes place at the border because traders need to get the product cheap so as to make profit.
We were shown round by an Immigration officer who welcomed us and lectured us on the steps it takes for an immigrant to cross to the other side of the divide. He explained the document needed to cross to the other country which includes a valid travelling passport or a valid identification card (for students) which shows that the person is a citizen of Nigeria, a yellow card (yellow fever vaccine immunization card) etc After the brief lecture, we went round for some few minutes just of feel the energy at the border area, after which we filed back to the bus to be headed back to the hotel. It was indeed an interesting encounter!
The second day 22nd July, 2016 began with a breakfast lecture series at the conference hall of the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) located at Topo in Badagry which also happened to be our lodging resort. At around 9:30am we started the lecture with a cup of tea, snack and bottle water. Prof S.I Oni (the Dean of the faculty of Social Sciences, the University of Lagos)took us through the step by step processes in order to undergo a transportation research. He said and I quote “a transport planner most provide soltions to transportation problems”. He went further to say “Nigeria runs a uni-modal mode of transport, we should not over burden a particullar mode of transport. We need to start looking at how we can move from uni-modal to multi-modal system of transportation”. He hammered on the need to undergo research because research is important for development.
After an hour of lecture, it was the turn of Dr Charles Asenime (Head of School of Transports, Lagos State University), he took us through how to develop a sound survey instrument. He told us the importance of setting the right question for a particular audience in order to have the desired result on the field. At the end of his lecture, he design a questionnaire which was distributed and used for the various traffic counts on the field.
Dr E. Ege (the Coordinator of the Post Graduate Masters in Transportation Planning and Management of the University of Lagos) lectured us on the important points to note while writing a thesis at the masters level. He took us through a lengthy and yet very important lecture series on the subject, he showed us some mistakes students make while writing their project and ways to avoid such errors.
After the seminar, we divided ourselves immediately into groups. The first group did traffic counts along the Lagos-Badagry-Seme-Topo and Ajara axis. The second group went for jetty counts at the coastal part of badagry while the third group were solely devoted to gathering commuters opinion via questionnaire just to determine their social, economical and geographical perception to the host community. The traffic/Jetty count and questionnaire distribution started 12:30pm and ended 4:30pm.
Later in the evening, it was all fun garlor we enjoyed ourselves with various types of delicacies, drinks and music since it was a Friday night and thank God it was a Friday! Afterall “all work and no play makes Jake a dull boy” lol.
Day three signals the end of the field trip, we collated the data, analysized it and stored the results for the purpose of future governmental decision with regards to Badagry and it’s environs.
After having a light breakfast meal, we all packed our bags on 23rd July, 2016 at exactly 10:00am , checked-out of the hotel and journeyed back to our various homes.
It is important to note here that the field trip organized by the Department of Geography, University of Lagos for the Post Graduate Students of Transportation Planning and Management was indeed an educative, informative and mind blowing activity that every transport expert must experience. It is a part of many series of field work that serves as a prerequisite for the Award of the Masters in Transportation Planning and Management at the Prestigious Citadel of learning. It is indeed a wonderful practicum! Kudos to the members of organizing committee and of course a special thanks to Prof S.I Oni (the Dean of the faculty of Social Sciences, the University of Lagos) for his foresight, to Dr Charles Asenime (Head of School of Transports, Lagos State University) for his contribution and of-course our very own Dr E. Ege (the Coordinator of the Post Graduate Masters in Transportation Planning and Management of the University of Lagos) for his extra-ordinary courage and vision “merci beaucoup”!