By Kingsley Adegboye
LAGOS—AGAIN, movement into and out of Apapa through Oshodi-Apapa Expressway has become a nightmare for motorists and commuters, as trucks and tankers have taken over the entire stretch of the dual carriageway from Mile 2 to Tin Can Port.
Trucks and petroleum tankers are back on the dual carriage way, making vehicular movement on the ever busy expressway nightmarish. What makes the situation more pathetic is the ongoing reconstruction of Apapa Wharf Road which has diverted more trucks and tankers from Apapa Wharf Road to Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.
This has worsened the already chaotic traffic situation on Oshodi-Apapa dual carriageway due to deplorable condition of the road. All sorts of articulated vehicles now on every side of the Kirikiri-Olodi-Apapa overhead bridge and every available space on both sides of the dual carriageway.
This indiscriminate parking has consequently reduced the carriage capacity of the road, causing traffic congestion, a situation that has been worsened by potholes and craters on the ever busy expressway.
Apapa and Oshodi bound motorists and commuters are at the mercy of these drivers.
The menacing presence of the petroleum tankers and trailers on the road is the reason Apapa-bound motorists and commuters spend several hours to get to their destinations on daily basis. Those who have targets to meet now use the services of commercial motorcycle operators popularly called Okada riders despite the obvious risk.
In fact, most commercial drivers and motorists now navigate through Olodi-Apapa through Boundary, Ajegunle, to access Apapa, a longer route but a better alternative.
Tanker drivers, who spoke to Vanguard alleged that some policemen deployed to the area to control traffic, have abandoned their duty.
Vanguard gathered that as soon as the tanker drivers part with the money, they are permitted by the policemen to head to the tank farms on Tin can Island and Kirikiri and end up parking indiscriminately on the highway.
One tanker driver, simply identified as Alhaji Abdullahi, , said he came from Maiduguri to lift petroleum product in Lagos, lamenting that he had spent almost a week without getting close to the tank farm.
Asked why they indiscriminately park along the highway, without consideration for the plight of other road users, Abdullahi alleged that the police should be blamed for the indiscriminate parking.
According to him, “For me as a person, I’m confused about the whole issue. Most of our colleagues who have not been booked to lift petroleum products are the cause of this traffic menace as they are allowed to behave anyhow by policemen.”
However, Police sources told Vanguard that the Commissioner of Police, Mr Imohimi Edgal had already ordered both the police at Trinity, Kirikiri and adjoining divisions to ensure that, they patrol the affected areas effectively with a view to ensuring smooth flow of traffic. It was also learnt that, the CP has also warned his men not to get involved in any illegal activity.”
Meantime, speaking on allegation of security operatives extorting tanker drivers and aiding them to drive against traffic and park on sides of road, immediate past Lagos Zonal Chairman of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, Tokunbo Korodo, said it was unacceptable for security operatives to demand and receive gratification from drivers to cause chaos on the road and expose road users to unnecessary risk.
Korodu who is the Lagos Chairman of United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, called on the leadership of security operatives in Lagos, especially at Apapa axis of Oshodi- Apapa Dual Carriage Way, to set up monitoring task force to deal with both the givers and receivers of gratification or bribe on the road thereby inflicting hardship on other road users through reckless driving and indiscriminate parking.