By Gideon Nnaemezie
THE concession exercise embarked upon by the Federal Government and the conversion of truck parks to offices by some private businesses has been blamed for contributing immensely to the traffic gridlock along the Apapa port axis.
Managing Director, Kotzmatz Media Konsults Limited, Mr Okey Ibeke, who disclosed this in a chat with Vanguard Maritime Report, said that the inability of the government to look and plan strategically has cost members of the public that ply Apapa road a great level of discomfort.
He also blamed the former managing director of Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Adebayo Sarumi, who was at the forefront of the concession programme for ceding a vast majority of the ports to private sectors which include common usage areas and truck parks.
He said: “Previously the Nigerian Ports Authority was in charge of operations at the ports and at that time there was the presence of adequate truck parks and common usage areas where up to five hundred trucks could berth and wait for their turns to load their cargoes hence preventing gridlocks.
“But with the advent of the concession to the private sector by the government the mode of operation has taken a turn for the worse as trucks no longer have a specific place to park. They are now forced to park on both sides of the access roads.
“The private companies that acquired the parking lots for trucks stack up of cargoes, built fences in a bid to set up boundaries and walled off other private companies. They also occupied these spaces meant to be parking lots denying access to trucks.
“These trucks have no option but to turn back to the access roads to berth. Some of these former common usage areas have been presently converted to office blocks and plazas by these private companies.”
However, in a bid to resolve this issue, Ibeke added that “government needs to buy such properties off their private owners and re-convert them to parking lots and common usage areas”.