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Apapa gridlock worsens, Ambode’s taskforce yet to take off

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By Olasunkanmi Akoni

LAGOS—DESPITE Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s directive to Joint Security Taskforce to immediately clear and ensure free flow of traffic on  Apapa-Oshodi Expressway  and environs, five days ago gridlock on the ever-busy Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, yesterday worsened as Jakande Housing Estate of the road down to Coconut axis was locked down.

Gridlock as tankers shut down Apapa road yesterday.

The situation yesterday, was particularly frightening as there was no sign of any member of the task force on the road, except security operatives who have formed the habit of aiding the truck drives to park and drive against traffic from Otto Wolff, Berger Yard, down to under the Bridge causing untold hardship to innocent motorists.

Motorists and other commuters heading towards Oshodi, who were trapped and could not access the expressway from Berger Yard, even at 10 pm, fell victims of hoodlums who attacked and disposed them of their valuables.

Since Saturday, hoodlums have continued to hold sway, as they took advantage of the situation to unleash mayhem, robbing motorists trapped in the traffic.

There was no security personnel to rescue victims, despite residents and other stakeholders’ appeal to governments to order a 24-hour security patrol in the area to sustain discipline in the area.

The situation was very alarming as more trucks besieged the Mile 2 axis of the Expressway, parking indiscriminately on both sides of the expressway, with no sign that they were prepared to leave soon.

Following continuous public outcry over the gridlock and its consequences as being highlighted by Vanguard newspaper, Governor Ambode, last Wednesday, directed heads of security formations in the state to immediately deploy adequate personnel to tackle the gridlock and security threats in the axis.

The governor also ordered the reconstitution of the Joint Security Taskforce to manage the chaotic traffic situation in the area.

The taskforce is made up of: Police, military, officials of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA and the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC.

The next day, the governor, at the second edition of Lagos Corporate Assembly tagged; ‘A+Meets Business’, devoted considerable time to ways of solving the gridlock, saying, while the move to repair the major roads in Apapa was laudable, concerted efforts must be put in place to address the issues that gave rise to the crisis, which was more about port management.

While responding to concerns by the business community on the negative effects of the chaotic situation in Apapa on their businesses, the governor said call-up system for tankers and containerized trucks must be structured to eliminate the present chaos, while issuance of licenses for more tank farms in the axis must be stopped.

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