…We’re helpless, Police, FRSC, LASTMA lament
COMMUTERS were trapped for hours in the perennial gridlock along the Oshodi/Apapa Expressway, yesterday, as the Policemen, the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, and officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, could not control the chaotic traffic situation on the axis.
From Jakande bus-stop, inward Apapa to Otto-Wharf, a journey that ought to take three minutes, took close to six hours.
Vanguard observed that the newly created exit point at Freedom bus-stop, in front of the Ports and Terminal Multi-purpose, was blocked, a situation that rendered policemen, FRSC personnel, and LASTMA officials helpless.
A motorist, who simply gave his name as Chima, blamed both the Federal and Lagos State governments for failing to nip the chaotic traffic situation in the bud.
Chima said: “Why is it difficult to find a lasting solution to this problem? The Vice-President visited this axis twice, former governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, visited here. The current Governor of the state, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu also visited this area recently; yet, nothing has been done to alleviate the sufferings of people here.
“Various task forces, including members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, were set up to control the situation, yet, there has been no immediate solution.
“Almost every day, trucks fall in front of Berger Yard and at Mile-Two Oke, outward Apapa, because of the deplorable road. Is the government waiting for people to die on the road before they do something about it?”
A LASTMA official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Vanguard that the situation had overwhelmed them.
We’re helpless, Police, FRSC, LASTMA lament
He said: “The Police, LASTMA and FRSC officials are helpless. The situation has overwhelmed us. The problem we are facing at the moment is from vehicles making a U-turn from the newly created exit point in front of the Ports and Terminal Multipurpose Nigeria Limited, PTML. Those coming from the Apapa end and those from the service lane from Sunrise, struggle to access the road. At the same time, vehicles from the PTML also struggle to have access to the only alternative route.”
Another LASTMA official suggested that Military personnel should be deployed to the area to control the chaotic traffic situation.
He said: “Truck drivers and motorists do not obey Policemen, LASTMA and FRSC officials. We suggest that Military personnel should be brought here. They are the only ones that can instill discipline in road users along this axis.”
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, who visited Lagos, two weeks ago, ordered the Area Commander, ‘B’ Apapa, to oversee the traffic situation from Otto Wharf to Apapa, which falls under his jurisdiction.
With this directive, all other policemen initially deployed by the Command boss, CP Hakeem Odumosu, have left the axis.
It was also observed that some officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, stationed at Otto Wharf, outward Apapa, also contribute to the traffic situation, as they carry out stop-and-search of trucks coming out of the Ports.
Sometimes, when these checks are ongoing, hoodlums hijacked the situation to attack defenseless commuters trapped in the resultant traffic, outward Apapa.
A clearing and forwarding agency, Ugochukwu Chigozie, who was attacked yesterday, said: “We appeal to Customs authorities to order their personnel to leave Otto Wharf. The clearing should be done before trucks leave the ports.”
Lagos govt keeps mum
Governor Sanwo-Olu had set up a Special Traffic Management and Enforcement Compliance Team to resolve the traffic gridlock in and around Apapa, headed by his Special Adviser on Transportation, Mr. Toyin Fayinka.
Efforts to reach Fayinka on his mobile line proved abortive, while an SMS sent was yet to be responded to, as at press time.