As the Lagos State government moves to formally take over traffic management in Apapa, the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Presidential Task Team on the Restoration of Law and Order in Apapa Port (PTT-RLO), Comrade Kayode Opeifa has said that the team restored sanity on the roads leading to the nation’s busiest port.
Opeifa, who is also the former Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, said the Presidency which supervised the entire initiative via the Vice President’s office had done a great job in ridding the nation of the big shame that the Apapa Port has become before May last year, praising the efforts of all the stakeholders for the far-reaching gains and successes recorded by the Team in the first five months of its operation in Apapa.
In a 44-paged exit report submitted to the Presidency, Opeifa detailed the activities of the PTT-RLO established by President Muhammed Buhari on May 22, 2019. He said that in the last 19 months the team has come up with an efficient and effective traffic management plan for the entire port area traffic (including the cargo, fuel distribution and business district traffic).
According to him, the now rested Task Team has achieved tremendous success in keeping stationary trucks off the highways especially on the Ikorodu road, inner streets of Surulere, Apongbon Bridge, Eric Moore area and Eko Bridge up to Ijora 7up and Ijora Olopa. Same for Orile/Iganmu end to Mile 2 end of Lagos Badagry Express Way as of 30th of Sept, 2020 pending the introduction of the electronic call-up system by the NPA.
In the report titled: “Update and Exit Report of the Presidential Task Team activities on the Restoration of Law and Order in Apapa (PTT-RLO)”, Opeifa said the team has succeeded in taming the Apapa gridlock.
He said that traffic management direction currently deployed is as contained in the Presidential Task Team released Operational Order, Guidelines and Modus
Operandi which incorporates Port Operations, and Park Management and special purpose Apapa Port Area Traffic Management with strict enforcement protocols.
Opeifa said: “We have consistently kept stationary trucks off the above-mentioned highways. Same for Marine Bridge up to Point road except for trucks on queue from LTTP and others as a result of Apapa Port operations especially as it relates to the capacity and efficiency of operations at APM Terminal, Apapa Port to handle Empty Container Return and other deliveries.”
“Despite, the increased construction activity around Tin Can Island Port gates, Truck access into the Tin Can Port is under proper management to the satisfaction of Seaport Terminal Operators, Port Managers and Truck operators.”
He said the PTT has come up with an efficient and effective Traffic management plan for the entire port area traffic (including the cargo, fuel distribution and business district traffic).
Harping on the Coconut to Port Gate and Liverpool Road, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) said due to the ongoing construction works along the corridor, both inbound and outbound lanes to the Tin Can Port gates are closed for Port Truck except a batch by the batch movement of inbound trucks from SunRise to Port via
Abuja access and TITTP, adding however that tankers are beginning to take advantage of the service lane since the road is about 95 percent completed resulting in no physical presence of stationary trucks on the road unlike hitherto.
Opeifa, however, said the greatest obstacle to the successes of the PTT-RLO, are from “Corruption-fight-back, which have been battling the Task Team as a result of the dismantling of the machinery that ensures some unscrupulous operators benefit from the confusion at Apapa until May 2019.
For ease of operations and as agreed by all stakeholders, the EVC added that its efficiency is largely hinged on the cooperation of all major stakeholders
(NPA, Manufacturing concerns, Shipping Lines, Terminal Operators, Tank Farms operators, PPMC and transporters) and understanding/engagement of other stakeholders who are clients to the Major stakeholders.
The former Commissioner, however, warned that all the gains of the Team in the last 19 months might be reversed if the state government and concerned Federal Agencies managing the port area does not take charge of the traffic management.
He said the current operating system backed by appropriate enforcement has the capacity to clean up any congestion within two to six hours with the cooperation of major stakeholders and an effective incidence and recovery management system by LASTMA and LRU.
Opeifa stated the position on a day the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu paid a working visit to Apapa, where he had announced directed the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and the Area B Police Station to move into Apapa and manage traffic in the Port area.