…Motorists trapped for hours
…We ‘re talking with stakeholders-Lagos govt
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
There seems to be no respite in sight on the perennial gridlock along the Apapa/Oshodi Expressway, Lagos, as all entry and exit points of the route from Ijesha to Berger Yard end, on Wednesday, were completed blocked due to the activities of recalcitrant truck drivers and miscreants.
Ironically, the newly created Lagos State Traffic Management Team, by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and other traffic officials saddled with the responsibility of controlling traffic along the axis, were on the sideline leaving motorists to the mercy of miscreants and commercial motorcyclists, called “Okada” riders, leading to a total gridlock for several hours.
The new Lagos Traffic Management Team is headed by Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr Toyin Fayinka, with General Manager Lagos Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Mr. Jide Oduyoye, as one of the members.
The chaotic situation which was said to have started building up from 11 am, grew worst at about 3 pm, with the road been on standstill.
Also, the road leading to Kirikiri Riad from Otto Wharf was taken over by truck drivers forcing oncoming vehicles to divert to alternative routes.
Miscreants were seen molesting motorists trapped in the traffic, extorting them of the or money, despite the presence of few policemen on ground who looked the other way.
Vanguard staff was also harassed by a group of five miscreants who swooped around his vehicle, demanding for money by force or have his vehicle vandalised.
“I have to part with N1,000 before I could let off eben in the presence of some policemen around the spot,” he told our correspondent.
Trucks were also parked along the only entrance leading in and out of Vanguard‘s corporate headquarters, Berger Yard.
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According to irate motorists, rather than controlling the truck drivers to keep to a lane, in order to allow other road users have access, policemen and other stakeholders were busy collecting ‘tolls’ from the truck drivers, many tankers who were in haste to get acres to depot.
The Area ‘B’ Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP, Akinbayo Olasoji, under whose jurisdiction the enforcement falls, did not mobilise his men to control traffic in the area.
The present situation resurfaced since Monday, February 15, 2021, after few days of sanity.
Meantime, at the time of writing this report, about 7pm, vehicular movement was still at a standstill. Motorists could not navigate their ways through the three alternative roads that lead to the expressway, outward Apapa as tankers took over the entire axis forcing other road users to a halt.
Also, okada riders compete the road with motorists as residents resorted to patronising the riders to get to their destinations.
When contacted, Fayinka, said he was unaware of the situation but would move to action immediately to restore sanity in the axis.
According to him, “I’m not aware of the gridlock situation in Apapa today. Nevertheless, I will dispatch our traffic team to the trouble spot to restore sanity.
“We have been talking with stakeholders on the need to find a lasting solution to the gridlock in the axis. Please, bear with us.”
Recall that Lagos state government in collaboration with stakeholders and management of the Nigeria Port Authority, NPA, last week, identified about seven truck parks as loading bays to keep trucks off the road, but yet to kick off operation as at Wednesday.