Transport institute to tackle Apapa gridlock with NYSC members
The Chartered Institute Of Transport Administration of Nigeria (CIOTA) has revealed that plans are underway to tackle traffic situation on Nigerian roads, including around the seaport with volunteer groups majorly made up of members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Speaking on Tuesday in Abuja during the maiden National Transportation Summit which had as its theme, “Unlocking the potentials of Transportation for sustainable Development”, President of CIOTA, Bashir Jamoh, stated that it is time to restructure the rickety means of transportation that the nation currently has.
According to Jamoh, “It is time to reorientate the touting that occurs at our motor parks all in the name of Transportation. How does CIOTA intend to carry out reforms in the nation’s transport sector? Our first objective will be to interface with the Head of Service and the Ministry of Education to ensure that transportation is truly professionalised in the country. We will make sure that we have people that can reinvigorate, re-design, and rebuild the Transportation system in Nigeria. This is the area of advocacy that we will ensure is being taken care of without further delay.
“The second focus of CIOTA has to do with the volunteer groups. We admit that Nigerians are suffering anytime they use the roads due to reasons like traffic, bad state of the road among others. For over two to three months, the Presidential Committee on Apapa gridlock has worked tirelessly on the traffic situation in and around the ports, without much success.
“In every country that I have visited, the most important roads are usually the access road leading to the seaports.
“CIOTA is going to be part and parcel of the effort to resolve the dry-headed monster called Apapa gridlock. After vigorous research, CIOTA has come up with what we call a volunteer group to bring an end to Apapa gridlock.
“We will partner with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and ask them to give us some of their members who will be enlisted in this volunteer group of CIOTA. They will be dressed in CIOTA uniform and deployed through collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to address the gridlock in and around our seaport.
“By the first quarter of 2020, our volunteer group’s will be on Nigerian roads, with the aim to restore sanity to our roads.”
Also speaking at the event, the Keynote speaker and Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, explained that due to lack of professionalism in Nigeria’s transportation sector, the sector has been hugely distorted.
In his presentation, “It is due to the distortion that a port originally designed in the early ’70s to handle 34 million metric tonnes of cargoes now handles 84 million metric tonnes of cargoes without any plan for expansion.
“That is why buildings spring up in Apapa without the knowledge and permission of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). The NPA should own and manage Apapa, but this is not so due to lack of professionalism.
“If we had the rail, inland waterways, it would have been better. But because it’s an all-comers affair, there is a gap in the professional aspect of Nigeria’s transport sector. Transport drives the economy. The growth of the economy depends on the modality of the transport infrastructure, and Nigeria has not been able to achieve this because of gaps in our transportation profession. We hope CIOTA will be able to address these gaps in order to move Nigeria forward.
“Transport should be the major source of employment, not oil and gas. Transport is a sense of pride. We used to have our ships trading all over the world, but now, the rest is history.
“The cost of doing business in Nigeria and connectivity of pipeline, inland waterways, railway and air transportation are critical. The port in Baro must be able to speak to the Inland Dry Port in Kaduna. Nigeria’s transportation system lacks connectivity.
“United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) scored Nigerian very low over lack of connectivity. Until Shippers Council begin to wage war, there was no train linkage to Lekki Port. We want CIOTA to take over and concentrate on making things better.
“CIOTA should concentrate on transport policy and work with others to come up with integrated infrastructure. What we want is multi-modalism, but we need inter-modalism more, where goods brought by sea through the ship, will be offloaded and taken by the train or inland waterways.
“There must be a policy that a certain percentage of goods must be carried by inland waterways, road, pipeline and a majority by rail. If we have the pipeline, why should tankers go to Apapa? We have chaos, indiscipline in Apapa and the port is presently overwhelmed. That was why we said that the NPA should own the whole of Apapa.”