By Evelyn Usman
lagos—The Navy yesterday began enforcement of the 48-hour ultimatum issued last week to truck drivers to vacate Lagos bridges, with a view to averting possible collapse and also to allow free flow of traffic along affected routes.
As at 4pm yesterday, Vanguard observed a near total compliance as bridges around Apapa and Oshodi/Apapa were free from the usual sight of trucks.
It was also observed that 75 percent of trucks usually parked on the entire lanes along the Oshodi Apapa expressway, Boundary, Otto Wharf and Ijora areas, thereby making the routes inaccessible to other road users, complied taking just one lane.
Vanguard gathered that truck drivers, majority of who did not have any business to be at the port, left the queues between 7am and 12 noon when report of the enforcement order reached them, thereby leaving few trucks who had business at the ports on one lane.
The Commander Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Beecroft, Commodore Okon Eyo, was sighted at about 10am, supervising the enforcement, from Ijora Bridge to Apapa Port, on foot, while naval personnel and other security agents were seen at strategic locations, turning trucks who had no business at the Ports back.
When contacted, Eyo, disclosed that a meeting was held with members of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, at the Western Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy, Apapa, Tuesday, to intimate them of the enforcement, so that they would in turn inform their members and other truck drivers.
Eyo said: “We set up a committee during a stakeholders meeting last week, to work out modalities for a permanent solution to the traffic situation. But while we await their outcome, we felt an immediate need to clear trucks from the bridges. They (trucks) can wait on one lane on the road but not on the bridges for obvious reasons, as bridges are not meant to carry that kind of load. So, at the meeting with NUPENG yesterday (Wednesday), we restated the ills and security implications associated with trucks being allowed to park on bridges.
“So, what we did this morning was to ensure compliance. We agreed at yesterday’s meeting that those already on the bridges would be allowed to continue their journey, once it was established that they have a mission at the Ports. But loafers who just park around looking for business would be turned back.”
“Already, at the meeting with the Nigeria Port Authority last week, it said it would work out modalities on how to identify trucks drivers who have genuine business at the port while the NUPENG also pledged to abide by measures set up to proffer lasting solution to this menace. With this, any truck who claims to have any business at the port will be allowed to go but when its driver gets to the port gate and discovered not to have any business there, he will be sent back and won’t be allowed to shunt . Rather, he would go and queue behind the last truck”, Eyo stated