By Olasunkanmi Akoni and Godwin Oritse
Aggrieved members of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners, AMATO, have accused the police authority and officials of Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, of frustrating the smooth operation of the newly introduced Electronic Call-Up system in Apapa ports.
This came as men of the Lagos Special Traffic Management and Enforcement Compliance Team set up by Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to unlock the Apapa griclock, has been rendered ineffective following, flagrant disobedience by truckers to rules of engagement aimed to restore sanity.
Recall that a stakeholders’ meeting held last week between representatives of Lagos State Government and union leaders in ports operation ended in a deadlock last week
The chaotic traffic situation has continued along Apapa-Oshodi Expressway on Tuesday, without the presence of the Lagos traffic team subjecting motorists and commuters to untold hardship and at the mercy of traffic robbers and miscreants was totally shut down as truckers and tankers parked indiscriminately on the road causing untold hardship to motorists, commuters and businesses in the area.
The situation got worse by the ongoing road rehabilitation on Lagos-Badagry Expressway, with the effect spilling over to Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.
The only visible men controlling traffic are miscreants and few members of association of truck drivers around Mile 2 and Otto-Wolf, inward Tincan Island Port.
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The meeting, held in Alausa on Thursday, was called on the instance of the state government as part of effort to find relief on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway gridlock through the template of the e-call-up system.
The meeting was attended by Head of the Lagos Special Traffic Management and Enforcement Compliance Team, Mr Toyin Fayinka, and representatives of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, led by the Lagos state chairman, Tayo Aboyeji, and Association of Maritime Truck Owners, among others.
The meeting, however, failed to reach a common agreement on the deployment of the e-call up system by truckers, particularly, tanker drivers along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.
However, speaking to Vanguard at the end of the inconclusive meeting with the stakeholders, Fayinka, expressed concern over the development, saying ” there must be way out of the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway gridlock.”
He said in the interim, he has directed the traffic team leader on the axis to ensure that at least a lane is made available for other road users to ply by pulling all the truckers into a designated lane.
Fayinka, assured that after the Easter holiday, the team would go tough on recalcitrant drivers by resorting to impounding vehicles found flouting the traffic rule.
Stakeholders had blamed the current gridlock on the ongoing road constructions around the axis, activities of tankers due to the high number of tank farms located along the axis, bad roads.ans corrupt practices by all security personnel involved in the management of traffic situation I the axis.
Speaking on condition of anonymity on Tuesday, some truckers expressed displeasure over misconduct of security personnel deployed to engender sanity in traffic experience in Apapa and evirons by twarting current efforts.
According to one of them, “Apapa area from Ijora 7Up, Area B and Oshodi-Apapa Expressway are in total disarray as container laden truck drivers and tanker drivers have taken over the road without regards to Call-up tickets.
“There supposed to be arrangement where truckers are to make use of trailer parks and then call up by NPA, but the situation is no longer the same as trickers without call up tickets are being allowed access to ports by policemen and other officials from NPA after collecting bribes, thereby, scuttling the system.
“Some of us with valid e-Call up tickets are left stranded in truck parks for days without being called up and other truckers without tickets are moving on the road without being called to order.
“If this situation is not redressed soon, we will all hit the road and abandon the truck parks because we can not be obeying the law and law enforcement agents will be the ones encouraging others to flout the law.”
Also, some stakeholders in the nation’s ports transportation services had picked holes with the electronic call-up (e-call-up) truck control system at the Apapa seaports, calling for reforms barely one month after its take-off.