Apapa gridlock: Stakeholders give trucks, tankers 48 hours ultimatum to leave as govt asks trailers to keep off Lagos roads
Stakeholders, comprising traffic authorities, transport unions and port users, on Friday asked trucks and tankers parking indiscriminately and causing gridlock in Apapa area to vacate Lagos roads within 48 hours.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the stakeholders gave the ultimatum in a communique issued after an emergency meeting to resolve the gridlock in Apapa which had spread to other parts of Lagos.
The stakeholders represented at the meeting included Lagos State Traffic. Management Authority (LATSMA), Federal. Road Safety. Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Shippers Council, Flour Mills of Nigeria, National Association of Freight Forwarders, Association of Maritime Truck Owners and National Association of Road Transport Owners.
Also, present at the meeting convened by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, were Chairman, Apapa Residents Association, Rtd. Brig-Gen. Sola Ayo-Vaughan Chairman, Apapa Local Government, Mr Elijah Adele and AG Dangote Construction Company Ltd, contractors handling the ongoing Apapa/Wharf Road reconstruction project.
”There should be no parking of trucks on Wharf Road at all.
“Enforcement agencies should work within the next 48 hours to clear up the problem. Soldiers should work as back up.
“The meeting agreed that truckers and tankers should vacate the entire Lagos roads within 48 hours and the traffic should not stretch up to Point Road,” the stakeholders said in issuing the ultimatum.
Similarly, the Lagos State Government on Friday also appealed to owners and operators of articulated vehicles, trailers, petroleum tankers to stay away from the state pending the resolution of the challenges faced by port operators.
Mr Anofiu Elegushi, Special Adviser to Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode on Transportation made the appeal at a media briefing in Lagos.
Elegushi appealed to port operators to urgently do all the needful to get the challenge resolved as soon as practicable to eliminate the current hardship being faced by the people and the dangers it posed to the socio-economic activities and health of residents.
He also advised operators of articulated vehicles, trailers and petroleum tankers to park at Ogere Trailer Park and such other parks outside the state.
”The state government’s attention has been drawn to the recent traffic situation and how it has impacted negatively on commercial activities of the citizens.
”Investigation have revealed that the traffic gridlock was as a result of the challenges being faced by the operators of the ports which has made it impossible for them to load their articulated vehicles that have come from the inter-lands to evacuate imported items from the ports.
”The situation was further aggravated by the current rehabilitation of some major and minor roads which again necessitated the closure of these roads in Apapa.
”The situation, at it were, led to the traffic bottleneck and back flow of the articulated vehicles to as far as Ojuelegba area.
”While we appreciate and regret the hardship this has caused the citizenry, we wish to appeal to port operators to urgently resolve the challenge to eliminate this current hardship being faced by the people, ” he said.
Elegushi advised residents and commuters to seek alternative routes as the government continued to works to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.
Also speaking, Mr Steve Ayorinde, Commissioner for Information and Strategy said that the government had been consulting with the Nigerian Ports Authority and other relevant transport unions to resolve the problem.
Ayorinde said that relevant government agencies would be stationed at key gateways into Lagos to ensure compliance.
”As a responsible government, we need to take steps to deal with the problem, especially at the weekend to restore order and sanity on the roads already affected by this logjam ” he said.
On his part, Mr Remi Ogungbemi, President, Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMARTO) said that the situation on Apapa Road was a time bomb that could explode at anytime if not resolved urgently.
Ogungbemi appealed to the Federal Government to intervene and complement the efforts of Lagos state government to avoid casualties.
”We urge the government to put a system in place that could regulate the moving in and out of trucks at the ports to avoid this kind of gridlock and restore sanity.
”As an association, we will give all the necessary support to resolve this challenge, ” he said.
The communique, read by Mr Kayode Opeifa, identified “stress induced indiscipline” among drivers, the ports lack of capacity especially for empty container returns and export trucks and none compliance with traffic rules as among causes of the gridlock.
The stakeholders called on the Federal Government to speed up its solutions to the Apapa Port Access Roads and palliatives on the Apapa/Oshodi Roads.
They called on terminal operators to use manual registers whenever there were failure of technology gadgets in administering haulage.
The meeting advised military men controlling gridlock in Apapa to work under the supervision of the Apapa Police Area Command for proper traffic management rather than use of force.
The stakeholders also called on the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), who were absent at the meeting to improve on its operations.
They urged NPA and Shippers Council to appeal to terminal operators to grant trucks trapped on the way to the ports waivers exempting them from paying demurrage.
They also called for the participation of the Port Police in the management of the gridlock under the supervision of the Apapa Police Area Commander and LASTMA.
They urged that sided trucks, flat beds, fish trucks and Silo trucks should be allowed to move on the fast lanes when going into the Ports.
They commended the efforts the Federal Government, AG Dangote Construction Ltd, Flour Mills of Nigeria and the NPA in fixing the Apapa/Wharf Road.
Mr Godwin Eke, Federal Controller, Works, Lagos, led the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing delegation to the meeting which held in Apapa