GOVERNOR Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s Traffic Committee on Apapa gridlock headed by his Special Adviser on Transportation, Oluwatoyin Fayinka, has abandoned its primary duty as truck drivers continue to park indiscriminately along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway unchecked.
Also, the Electronic-call up system introduced by the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, in collaboration with the state government to reorder the movement of trucks on a first come first serve basis seemed to have also collapsed as truck drivers ignored all earlier rules and regulations on traffic movement.https://servedbyadbutler.com/adserve/;ID=162803;size=300×250;setID=151330;type=iframe;sw=1366;sh=768;spr=1;kw=;pid=8984743;place=0;rnd=8984743;click=CLICK_MACRO_PLACEHOLDER
The state traffic management committee was set up to restore sanity to the persistent gridlock which had defied all solutions from the administrations of Messrs Babatunde Fashola and Akinwunmi Ambode, to date.
However, as part of measures to curb the excesses, NPA had earlier sought the support and cooperation of Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG of the Nigeria Police in charge of Maritime as well as the Nigerian Navy and Federal Road Safety Corps FRSC on the need to clear all encumbrance and bottlenecks that impede the free flow of traffic on all port corridors with a view to ensuring efficient and effective handling of cargo in and out of the nation’s seaports.
On the Apapa Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, truck drivers occupied the road from Fatgbems Filling Station up to Trinity, inward Tin-can Island Port.
The chaotic traffic situation along Apapa-Oshodi Expressway returned, yesterday, as truck drivers parked indiscriminately on the road subjecting motorists and other road users to untold hardship.
Men of the state traffic committee and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, practically abandoned their duty posts.
Officials of the traffic committee abandoned the bottlenecks leaving the traffic management to touts and miscreants who were openly extorting truckers before being allowed access towards the port road.
Also, some mean looking fellows were seen on traffic vests bearing “NUPENG VIO,” who claimed to be working for Nigeria Union of Petroleum, and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, in controlling the movement of trucks into Tin-can Port.
Police blame NUPENG members
Some policemen, who spoke under anonymity, blamed personnel of the Lagos Police Command, LASTMA and NUPENG officials for the present gridlock along the expressway.
The situation got worse last Wednesday as truck and tanker drivers protested against giving bribes after paying different charges at several checking points mounted by union officials inward Apapa.
The protest resulted in lockdown between Mile-2 and Kirikiri Road junction thereby subjecting other road users to a standstill situation for several hours into midnight. The confusion was, however, cleared after the truck and tanker drivers agreed to part with some money before the vehicular movement was restored inward Apapa.
Motorists narrate ordeal
Kenneth Adebisi, a motorist, who narrated his experience, said: “Different people putting on different reflective jackets belonging to different labour unions were seen last Wednesday night at the Kirikiri junction. They were responsible for the confusion at the Kirikiri junction because they were the people that stopped a particular truck driver at the spot because the driver refused to pay a certain amount of money at the spot, thereby blocking the entire road.
“A particular truck driver was heard shouting at the Kirikiri junction that night that he had paid as much as N70,000 as charges at different checking point up to Kirikiri junction and was not ready to part with the slightest amount of money even if heaven would fall.
“Meanwhile, policemen and LASTMA officials drafted to the area were at their location in front of UBA, by Kirikiri junction watching the confusion at the spot that night without any intervention. I had to turn back to the office to pass the night as there was no road to go home. ”
Similarly, Vanguard staff are often affected by the gridlock which lasts into the late hours after the close of work each day
“The experience on this road is harrowing every day. When you are coming to the office in the afternoon, there is always gridlock as tanker drivers, who are supposed to be in a single lane to allow for other road users, take over the road leaving other motorists at their mercy in a standstill situation. Several petitions and appeals have been sent to the Governor and other relevant authorities to stop this corruption going on in the Apapa area but it seems all have fallen on deaf ears. We do not know who to turn to for help again. Apapa traffic management is a failed project,” Mr. John narrated.
NUPENG keeps mum
Efforts to get the reaction from the leadership of NUPENG, as of press time, were unsuccessful.
However, an official of the union who spoke in confidence promised to reach back to this reporter after getting the details. But at the time of this report was yet to get back.
Issuance of fake e-call up tickets, extortion, corruption cause of gridlock– NARTO
Also, speaking on the development, a member of the National Executive Council of the National Association Road Transport Owners NARTO, Mr. Inuwa Mohammed, said that the extortion points along the Mile-2 axis of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway were responsible for the present traffic situation being experienced along that corridor.
Inuwa also said that the traffic build up starts from Fatgbems filling station to Oto-Wolf and then Sunrise, thereby, resulting in gridlock.
He said: “It is at these illegal checkpoints that fake electronic Call-Up tickets are issued. The security agents mounting these illegal extortion points have turned the place into their parking lots.
“This syndicate hides under this illegal extortion to issue fake Call-Up tickets and I advise the authority to see how the system can regulate the movement of trucks and other articulated vehicles.”
C’ttee boss reacts
Fayinka, who had earlier failed to respond to several calls and messages sent to him, in his response yesterday, said he had been too busy with other official duties.
He had earlier absolved his men of any complicity in the alleged extortion, pointing accusing fingers at regular state police from the division around the axis.
In his response, he said: “We have concluded plans to commence removal of all these trucks impeding traffic. I can assure you enforcement will continue.
“Also, the ongoing road construction by Hitech Construction Company is a big problem to our work. We urge you to please join us in appealing to the Federal Ministry of Works to talk to Hitech to complete the construction of the port access road on time to enhance the free flow of traffic in Apapa and environs.
LASTMA suspends enforcement of One-Way
In a related development, following series of complaints and passionate appeal by motorists over alleged indiscriminate arrest and extortion and intervention by Isolo Local Council Development Area, LCDA, the General Manager of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Olajide Oduyoye, through the Director of Operations, Bolaji Oreagba, has ordered the suspension of driving against the flow of traffic popularly called “One-Way” enforcement on Apapa-Oshodi service lane from Cele to Apakun Bridge.
In a memo by Oregba titled ‘Suspension of One-Way” enforcement on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway from Cele-DHL-Apakun Under-bridge’, dated August 27, to all zonal heads of zone 4, 21, 27, Headquarters and Operations, urged officials and men of the Nigeria Police attached to team to ensure strict compliance.
He explained that the state government was overwhelmed by complaints from motorists plying the area especially due to the stress they incur as caused by the ongoing work on the damaged bridge which has affected the seamless flow of traffic.
Oregba, explained that enforcement of One-Way driving on the service lane was needless as he ordered the officials to suspend the exercise on Aswani, Ajao Estate under the bridge to DHL corridor forthwith.
The enforcement was unofficially communicated to motorists and other road users last Tuesday with many road users expressing shock and inconveniences being experienced as a result of One-Way enforcement.
Chairman of Isolo LCDA, Otunba Adebayo Olasoju had last Wednesday, held a meeting with top officials of LASTMA Zone 27.
Olasoju, in a statement, explained that in addition to the meeting, other concerned government agencies would be reached for possible reversal of the one-way enforcement.