By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos—Members of Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, Union, have attributed the current traffic gridlock along Mile 2 axis of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, to the continued decay of infrastructure, as well as neglect of the deplorable road around the first and second gates of Tin-Can Port by the Federal and state governments.
They, therefore, seek immediate intervention of both governments to resolve the gridlock permanently.
After a few months of relief from the seemingly unending traffic gridlock on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, petrol tankers, and other articulated vehicles returned, with motorists and other road users becoming trapped in the gridlock, spending several hours in anguish. The situation has remained a nightmare for residents, particularly, motorists in the past few weeks.
Traffic congestion often extends from Apapa Tin Can Port to Second Rainbow bus stop along the expressway, forcing many commuters to trek long distances.
It was discovered that the gridlock was caused by large number of tankers that stormed the private tank farms in Kirikiri Town to get petroleum products.
Road users on the ever busy highway, told Vanguard that they virtually pass through hell to get to their destinations.
Comrade Tayo Aboyeji, Zonal Public Relations Officer, Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, (NUPENG), in his reaction to the development, absolved his members of any wrongdoing.
He said: “There is no alternative space for our members to park while waiting to get supply.
“The tankers have been back on the road for the past three months and we have not experienced any gridlock. The cause of the gridlock in that axis is due to bad road.
“Many portions of the roads are bad. The tankers cannot ply the road easily. And when people refer to the taskforce set up earlier, it brings concern to us. For instance, if we have 1,000 taskforce officials enforcing the laws, there will still be gridlock. And the reason for this is no other than the bad roads.
“There is nothing the officials can do to address the situation. When a tanker is going to load Petroleum Motor Spirit, PMS, immediately it gets to the bad portion of the road it would have to struggle to navigate.
“No vehicle can access Tin Can Port through Coconut axis. Even vehicles going out of Coconut face same challenge in navigating the road. The road isn’t motorable and that is the reason for the gridlock on that road.”
Aboyeji, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Works, and the state government to come to their aid.
Ambode seeks FG’s intervention through NASS
Worried by the situation, Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode recently, appealed to Senate, through members of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, led by its Chairman, Alhaji Sani Yerima, on a courtesy visit and oversight function on federal institutions, to assist Lagos State, as a cosmopolitan city and the economic capital of Nigeria in order to address infrastructure challenges confronting it.
The governor justified the development of additional ports in Lagos, saying it was now obvious that only Apapa Port cannot meet the demand of commerce and expansion required by the state, and therefore solicited the support of the Senate in that regard.
“On our own, we have spent N4 million to procure asphalt and other palliative materials to reduce the stress being faced by motorists on that road. Presently, our men are working to ensure easy access on the road.
“And if not for our efforts, the gridlock would have been massive. We are not complaining over what we have spent but we want permanent solution to the issue. The taskforce cannot solve the problem. The presence of FG is needed in that axis urgently.
“All the tankers seen on the road are moving to tank farms to load. It is not that they have turned the road to parking lot. If FG intends to fix the road immediately, they can only suspend movement on that road for few hours.
“We are available and others stakeholders too will be on ground to assist as well. Tankers will not obstruct their work if they are ready to fix the road.
“The tankers aren’t parking on the road, the once seen on the road which look as if they parked on the road are actually, heading towards tank farms to load.”
He noted, “The infrastructure around Apapa Port is not really befitting as it should be. The real estate around Apapa Port has actually overtaken the activities of marine business there and that is why we are forward looking thinking there must be a different way to do business or commerce and we like to use this opportunity also to appeal to the Federal Ministry of Works to assist the haulage business in the Apapa area so that we can get federal roads well prepared for the kind of commerce we have there.
“We also believe that the only major means of transportation in Lagos is road and that is why we are doing a lot on rail and water transportation to ensure that we are able to disperse our people from one point to the other with ease and comfort and allow the marine business to thrive in Lagos,” he said.