By GODWIN ORITSE

THE Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and terminal operators have commenced moves to appeal the new traffic law passed by the Lagos State Government restricting the movement of articulated vessels to certain destinations.

At a meeting with some terminal operators recently, NPA’s General Manager in charge of  Western operations, Alhaji Mohammed Bulango, asked all operators of terminals to provide details and figures of container delivery before the law came into effect.

Already, the terminal operators are counting their losses as a result of the new traffic law as containers do not leave the ports until certain hours of the day and the development has brought about congestion at the various ports in Lagos.

Speaking to Vanguard on the development, Mr Emmanuel Ogbor, said that terminal operators are already collating the delivery data and gathering all necessary document with which to tackle the state government over the traffic law which they described as obnoxious.

Effort to speak with the President of the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Nikky Hastrrup, was abortive as she was said not to be in the office.

STOAN spokesman, Mr. Bolaji Akinola, however, condemned that law, saying that it is inimical to the progress of not only the ports, but the nation’s economy.

It would be recalled that a seasoned freight forwarder and logistics expert, Mr Lucky Amiwero, had told the Lagos State House of Assembly that the move to restrict the movement of containers in and out of the ports was tantamount to bringing the nation’s economy to a halt.

Besides Amiwero’s opposition to the law, the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) had also kicked against the law and have been discussing with government on how best to manage the situation.

Although the new law restricts the activities of members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers to their offices, and forbids the extortion of money from commercial vehicle operators in Lagos, investigations show that the law has not stopped gangs of extortionists at nearly every bus stop in Lagos, as this group of people still operate in different parts of the metropolis unchecked.

At Onipanu Bus Stop, some members of the NURTW in uniform were seen operating outside their offices, collecting levies, and forcefully selling tickets to commercial bus drivers.

A similar scenario replayed in Fadeyi and Ikeja areas where touts were busy extorting money from bus drivers. Some commercial motorcyclists popularly called okada riders, have asked a Lagos High Court in Ikeja to void a section of the new Lagos State Traffic Law prohibiting their operations on major highways.

The plaintiff, through their counsel, Mr. Bamidele Aturu, filed the suit under the aegis of Incorporated Trustees of All Nigerians Autobike Commercial Owners and Workers Association.

Aturu, in the suit, urged the court to declare that the Lagos State government lacks the power to regulate traffic on the said major highways because they are federal road.

The Lagos State government’s  the Attorney-General, Mr. Ade Ipaye, and the state House of Assembly are  the three defendants in the suit.

The human rights lawyer wants the court to declare “that the major highways in Lagos listed in Items 1-11 and other part of Schedule II to the Lagos State Road Traffic Law, No. 4 of 2012 are Federal Trunk or Highway Roads within the meaning of the Federal Highways Act, cap F13, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”

Aturu sought the court for “a declaration that the defendants have no power whatsoever to make any law to regulate traffic on any of the federal trunk or highway roads listed in Schedule II to the Lagos State Road Traffic Law, No 4 of 2012 and in the Federal Highways Act, cap F13, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”

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