By Olasunkanmi Akoni, Godfrey Bivbere & Monsuru Olowoopejo
LAGOS—THE nightmarish gridlock on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, has taken a frightening dimension as erstwhile displaced traffic robbers returned to unleash terror and other nefarious activities on motorists and other road users around Apapa axis.
However, efforts by the Presidential Task Team on Restoration of Law and Order in Apapa, led by its Vice-Chairman, Kayode Opeifa, have yielded no positive result, particularly, along Mile 2 Area, as officers deployed to manage the chaotic traffic situation have been overwhelmed by the uncontrollable influx of trucks along the axis.
Traffic robbers return
Sadly, traffic robbers have returned in their large numbers to Mile2 and Orile axis after they were dislodged.
On Tuesday, motorists were attacked by armed robbers who seized the gridlock around Mile2 and Orile axis.
One of the victims, who preferred anonymity, recounted: “I was coming from Orile inward Mile2 axis. Unfortunately, I got stuck in the middle of the way as trucks practically shut the road. There was no movement. I thought, the gridlock would soon fizzle out. But as darkness enveloped the sky, from nowhere I started seeing some boys in between the trucks. When I looked behind me, I saw some dirty looking fellows, surrounding a vehicle.
“The boys robbed the motorist who was alone in the car. Immediately, I alighted from my car and walked some distance away to alert other motorists who were unwilling to help. By the time I returned to my car, the boys had disappeared.”
Also, one of Vanguard staff, (names-withheld), narrated how he was almost robbed at Mile2 area at about 12 midnight, two hours after he left the office at Berger Yard.
The Vanguard staff said: “After about two hours in a terrible traffic at the Mile-2 area, some boys appeared. In between the trucks parked indiscriminately on the road, they advanced towards my car. On seeing that we were three occupants in the car, they retreated to where they came from.
“We use this opportunity to call on authorities to come to the rescue of Apapa residents, motorists and workers. Our lives are in danger. We need immediate intervention in this axis.”
Many residents and Vanguard staff in the past lost their valuables and in some cases, got injured during series of traffic robbery incidents.
It took the deployment of men of Rapid Response Squad of the Lagos State Police Command, to checkmate the menace as several of the robbers were caught and prosecuted.
Motorists, workers including Vanguard staff and other road users were subjected to a horrific gridlock for the better part of Tuesday and yesterday.
Motorists had to abandon their vehicles and trekked to their various destinations.
Many staff of Vanguard slept at the office Tuesday.
Closes Mile-2 road to trucks for repair works
Meanwhile, the task team said the Mile-2 inward Apapa Expressway would be closed to trucks from today and Friday, for repair works on the failed section of the road.
Disclosing this to Vanguard during an on-the- spot-assessment of the road at Trinity Bus Stop, yesterday, Opeifa said he was working closely with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Works in Lagos State to enforce the closure of the road.
He also said he had spoken with Lagos Zone of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Nature Gas, Workers, NUPENG, for cooperation by instructing its members to stay off that axis of the road for two days.
Opeifa also explained that a bad spot of the road made articulated vehicles resort to using the service lane, adding that the plan was to dislodge the water from the failed portion of the road to enable the contractor fix it.