Earlier in the year, the Lagos State Government made known its plans to install free-WiFi at bus terminals as well as public schools within the state. The free-WiFi project is one of the initiatives towards the state’s smart city dream.
More often than not, there are issues around the longevity of public projects initiated by governments in Nigeria, irrespective of how large the launching ceremonies are.
A case in point is the free Wi-Fi service that was launched at the Ndubusi Kanu Park (NKP), Alausa Ikeja last year.
In an effort to confirm the current status of the free-WiFi service, I visited the entry-free park on two separate occasions, one of which was on a cool Sunday afternoon as there was a little downpour earlier in the day.
There’s a bold ‘Free WiFi Available Here’ sign at the entrance of the park but the WiFi doesn’t connect. At least not on both occasions that I visited.
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A frequent visitor to the park told me the WiFi is only available on weekends but she really didn’t understand why it wasn’t connecting that day.
One of the park attendants claimed the free WiFi works every day of the week. But he was clueless as to why it was connecting that weekend. According to one of the security officers on duty however, the WiFi service has not been good for a while.
Just opposite the Ndubusi Kanu Park is the Johnson Jakande Tinubu (JJT) Park whose entrance faces the Lagos State Assembly. It’s not a different case in terms of the expected free WiFi service that’s supposed to be enjoyed by visitors of the park.
In response to our questions about the free Internet connectivity at both parks, Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, General Manager, of Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK) confirmed that the free WiFi at the NKP has been temporarily affected by an electrical fault at a section of the park.
On the other hand, she maintained that the Wi-Fi service at JJT Park should be operational. But according to those working at the park, the free-WiFi service has not been working for a while.
Adebiyi-Abiola — founder of WeCyclers — further revealed that the government is in talks with partners from the private sector to ensure the provision of free WiFi services at no cost to the state government, which will enable further expansion of the Internet service project to other parks within the state in the future.
Another park in the state that has free WiFi service is the Muri Okunola Park, Victoria Island.
Based on the current situation with free Wi-Fi at parks, do you think the Lagos State Government can deliver on larger scale projects in bus terminals and public schools?