By Evelyn Usman & Godwin Bivbere
THE relevant traffic agencies responsible for restoring sanity on the Apapa Oshodi expressway, yesterday, engaged in buck-passing over an alleged conspiracy to scuttle the electronic Call-Up system, as the gridlock worsened.
The agencies saddled with the responsibility of controlling traffic in the axis are the Nigeria Police, the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, and the Lagos Special Traffic Management and Enforcement Compliance Team.
Some aggrieved members of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners, AMATO, had accused the Police and officials of the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, of Part of the line-up activities, includes Holy Communion Service, with the sermon to be preached by the former Presiding Chaplain, Lagos State Chapel, in Alausa, Ikeja, Very Revd. Ayo Oyadotun, and business sessions, among others, frustrating the smooth operation of the newly introduced electronic Call-Up system, in Apapa ports.
Some truckers expressed displeasure over the misconduct of security personnel deployed to engender sanity in the traffic experienced in Apapa and environs by thwarting the current efforts.
We have no direct link with Apapa —Police But in a swift reaction, the Lagos Police
Command absolved itself from the blame, clarifying that there was a Lagos special team set up by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to unlock the Apapa gridlock.
A senior Police officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said: “I am surprised they are accusing the Police. There is a committee mandated to ensure the free flow of traffic at Apapa. Gone were the days when the Police were involved.
“Policemen are just there to give cover to officials of LASTMA. If you must know, LASTMA is even prominent in Apapa than the Police. They are more relevant in the affairs of that place than the Police.
Our men are only there to give cover to LASTMA and members of the task force. We don’t have a direct link or contract with Apapa or the ports.”
E-Call Up system manipulated — COTOAN scribe
But the secretary of the Containerized Truck Owners Association of Nigeria, COTOAN, Yaqub Kolawole, decried the traffic situation along the Mile2–Tin-Can end of the port access road and called for the formation of a task force comprising stakeholders in the industry to deal with the problem.
Kolawole said: “The e-Call Up system is not the same as that of Apapa and Mile-2, it is working well in Apapa but, some people are going with fake call-ups and they are in connivance with some NPA officials and Policemen on the road. They allow trucks to pass, as long as you have the call-up system, whether they are genuine or not.
“While some of us that have genuine call-up tickets are waiting at the approved pre-gate waiting to be dispatched from there to the ports, others are seeing us like people who do not know what they are doing.
“There are several pre-gates: one at the Army barracks at Mile-2, another for export at Ojota, and some others before the ports. According to the e-Call Up system, you have to make sure you enter any of the pre-gates before you will be assigned with a Terminal Deliver Order, TDO. If it is a flat body, then your export container will be confirmed at that pre gate before you will be sent to the port.
“All these are some of the problems we are facing at the Mile-2 axis, but the system is working, to some extent, in Apapa.”
Meanwhile, the chaotic traffic situation continued along the Apapa-Oshodi expressway, yesterday, without the presence of the Lagos traffic team, subjecting motorists and commuters to untold hardships and at the mercy of traffic robbers and miscreants.
Also, the road was on lockdown, as truckers and tankers parked indiscriminately on the road, causing untold hardships to motorists, commuters and businesses in the area.
The situation escalated with the ongoing road rehabilitation on the Lagos Badagry expressway, with the effect spilling over to the Oshodi-Apapa expressway.
The only visible men controlling traffic were miscreants and some truck drivers around Mike 2 and Otto-Wolf, inward Tincan Island Port.