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Apapa gridlock: Truck owners fault corruption allegations against Taskforce

…Says it has restored Apapa glory

By Monsuru Olowoopejo

The Amalgamation of Container Trucks Owners has faulted the allegation of corruption levelled against the Presidential Taskforce on the evacuation of trucks and tankers in Apapa axis of Lagos. 

Apapa gridlock
TRAFFIC GRIDLOCK: Heavy trafic gridlock at Berger Yard along Oshodi -Apapa Expressway yesterday. Photo: Shola oyelese
Speaking on the development in Apapa axis, the Chairman of Amalgamation of Container Trucks Owners, Chief Olalaye Thompson, stressed that such allegations could be made if the previous Team head by the military was still in place.
Olaleye argued that the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo-led team has restored sanity to the axis and ended the sharp practices that were in place before now.
He noted that the team’s effort has restored the lost glory of the axis.
According to him, prior to the intervention of the Osinbajo-led presidential task force, they paid as much as N150,000 or more to access the port, saying that corrupt practices which took place under the previous joint task force led by the Nigerian Navy were responsible for the persistent gridlock in the axis.
“The way the previous joint taskforce operated was alien to the whole system when it is 9 to 10 in the morning, they stopped the truck from crossing until the 8 pm in the evening and during the period of the stoppage, and the gridlock would have built up. People were then forced to bribe their way to the port. Then it became the highest bidder show. The drivers were forced to bid for the amount they can afford to pass.  Somebody can offer N100,000 while another one can offer N120,000 or more”.

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But harping on the restoration of sanity in the area, Chief Thompson said most Nigerians and all the commuters in the axis can testify to the fact that the new presidential task team has performed effectively since the inception of its operation.
According to him, the era of bribing security personnel and other touts who take as much as N150,000 before one is allowed to access the port has gone for good because only those who have genuine document now have access to the port.
He said: “I am saying this with all sense of responsibility nobody can say that he is paying N20,000 to access the port. As the leader of the truck owners, if anyone is paying such there is no way I will not know. Our members must have come to tell that it is no difference between the presidential task team and another previous taskforce in the area. Under the previous joint task force led by the Nigerian Navy, a lot of blunder was perpetrated people pay as high as N150,000 and N200,000 before they could cross”.
Also speaking a member of the Presidential Task team, who refused to give out his name, said so many touts who disguised as law enforcement agents to swindle truckers had been arrested and detained.
He said those criticizing the presidential task team in the media were those who benefitted from the old corrupt system which the Vice President has been able to remove on Apapa axis.

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