By Our Reporters
LAGOS— DESPITE the expiration of the presidential order for the relocation of trucks from roads in Apapa and its environs, the enforcement is suffering set back following the continued presence of articulated trucks on most of the routes.
Gridlock is still being experienced on most of the roads, indicating that there is practically little or no improvement since the task force commenced duties.
As at yesterday, some of the major flashpoints like Mile-2, Mazamaza, Coconut, Kirikiri Bridge, Costain, and Iganmu Bridge, leading to Ijora, were still occupied by trucks.
Trucks occupy every space
Some trucks were found to have relocated to most streets in Ajegunle and Old Ojo Road, thereby hindering human and vehicular movement.
Though Vanguard discovered that some minimal gains had been recorded in a few areas, it was difficult accessing the aforementioned routes.
Vanguard also observed that the traffic situation on the road worsens at nights, as the trucks occupy every space on the roads.
Vice Chairman of the task force, Mr. Kayode Opeifa told Vanguard that enforcement actually commenced from the Apapa Wharf axis, adding that their activities would soon get to Apapa/Oshodi Expressway, Mile-2 end and its environs.
He said: “We were surprised to read that the roads were still blocked as trucks are still on Oshodi Apapa Expressway.
“The fact is that we have not really started operation in that axis. Though, we are contemplating on moving there at any moment.
“We (taskforce) have not said that we cleared the entire roads. We are still working on the other side of Apapa. We are still moving gradually to all the affected areas. All of these trucks can’t be moved at once but we are clearing them gradually. Very soon, we will get to Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.
“We have two weeks to clear the area and restore full sanity. However, I can assure you that we will get there very soon. It will take some time to achieve the desired goal.
“Therefore, I am using this medium to appeal to residents and motorists to be patient with us.”
Traffic rules in Apapa
Another member of the task force, who pleaded anonymity disputed that the order was not being enforced fully, adding that the committee had towed over 30 trucks that violated traffic rules in Apapa.
He said: “At the moment, we are at the Apapa end. So far, we have been able to clear trucks off the area to allow the free movement of vehicles in and out of the axis.
“When we are done with Apapa, we shall be moving towards Mile-2 and Apapa/Oshodi Expressway. Very soon, motorists plying that route will heave sigh of relief.’’
Instruction of the task force
However, the National Chairman, Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, Comrade Akanni Oladiti, told Vanguard that tanker drivers were still on the roads on the instruction of the task force.
He said: ‘’The Task Force has directed them (task force) to wait as plans are underway to move them to a depot, belonging to Yinka Folawiyo.
“It is not that they do not want to leave. We are hoping that the task force will soon keep its promise of moving all of them to Yinka Folawiyo where they are supposed to lift products.
‘’We are not paying bribes to have our way in Apapa. The new task force has not been demanding for bribes.”
But an official of one of the unions told Vanguard that the truck drivers were still being extorted by security agents, saying the situation added to the reasons for the slow implementation of the order.
Drivers contribute btw N150,000 and N200,000 for security operatives daily
He alleged: “We are just frustrated by security operatives. They have continued to undermine the presidential directive because they see the situation as avenue for making money. They were using the situation to extort money before, but since the situation has worsened with the presidential directive.
“The practice now is for truck drivers around Apapa to contribute between N150, 000 and N200, 000 daily to give the security operatives around Apapa. In other areas like Fatgbems, Berger Yard, and Kirikiri Junction, among other places, they have created artificial checkpoints where they use civilians to extort money from the truck drivers. You will see them sitting idle while the civilians collect the money on their behalf.”
As at press time, Second Rainbow, Mile 2, Mazamaza, Kirikiri, Old Ojo Road and Coconut were blocked by the trucks.