Hope rises on Apapa gridlock, as Senate Committe gives truck owners,others two-week ultimatum
Reprieve may soon comes for the road users and Apapa residents, following the intervention by the Senate Committe on Works, which held a stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos last weekend.
The committee, headed by Senator Kabiru Gaya, which, as part of its oversight functions, visited Apapa Tin Can Island; Oshodi-Apapa Expressway and other corridors to ascertain the causes of traffic gridlock in Lagos, a situation the members described as “National Embarrassment”!
At the end of discussion at the Eko Hotel & Suite, the committee issued a two-week ultimatum to truck owners, Nigerian Port Authority and other agencies to seek an end to the logjam that has taking years. But as the first move, the committee ordered the removal of every truck/trailer causing traffic jam on the expressway.
Besides, one-week deadline was equally given to contractor handling trailers’ park at Tincan Port to complete the project for commission and ensure an immediate use, with other agencies handling various logistics operations at the Apapa port also issued another one-week altimatum brace up .
In what he described as ‘a national embarrassment’ for trailers to turn bridges and major roads leading to the port to parks, the Senate Committe Chairman, Senator Kabiru Gaya, warned that after two weeks if he did see positive response, the committee would take definite action and also compel the Federal Government to do something drastic.
The Senate Committe Chairman, who led other senators: Barnabas Gemade, Clifford Ordia and Mao Ohambuwa on a fact findings mission to Lagos on how to decongest Apapa traffic jam, said they have come to sit with all stakeholders to provide immediate solutions to the gridlock.
He said :” Let me say that we will see positive response at the end of the two weeks ultimatum, but If we don’t, we will take our action and I can assure that the federal government will do something drastic.”
Part of measures provided was the introduction of what NPA official described as “ automatic call up system for trailers”, whereby individual truck drivers will leave their parks and come to the port when its their turn. “We tried the call up system when President Muhammadu Buhari visited Lagos during his campaign, and it worked perfectly. But not up to two weeks after, the situation returned to the sad past”, lamented one of the representative of the truck operators, who requested for the return to the system.
However, Gaya urged the traffic agencies, especially, the Lagos State Transportation Management Agency (LASTMA) and the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) to join hand with the Lagos State government to get temporary parking spaces for trailers to ease traffic. He also called on agencies that are concerned with trucks’ clearance to speed up the process by automating their system of operations.
Another issue raised was the allegation of exrortions by the security agents saddled with the responsibility of traffic management, especially, soldiers who are collecting money from truck drivers, ostensibly to be able to park along the road and bridges. To this, the committee, while expressing their displeasure over the allegation, promised to intimate heads of the affected agencies to do the needful.
As part of measures to ease Apapa gridlock, Gaya said a small committee has been set up to submit report to the Senate Committe within four days, while suggesting that both the NPA and other agencies to give waivers to shippers so that other ports such as Warri and Port Harcourt ports could be attractive for use.
During the emergency meeting on decongestion of traffic jam in Apapa in Lagos, stakeholders such as representatives from NPA, truck drivers’ associations, the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Federal Roads Safety Commission and shippers spoke on causes of the gridlock and how to nib it in the bud.
Inadequate loading bays by ship owners, bottleneck procedures of clearance, multiple check points by the Nigerian Customs and decadence of port infrastructure were listed as factors responsible for trailers gridlock on Apapa road.
General Manager Security, NPA, Captain Iheanacho Ebubeogu , stated what his agency was doing to fast track trailer clearance, calling on other companies to comply with modes of its operation at the port.
Director of Work in the South west urged owners of trailers to remove them from
the road and park them in designated locations.