April 1, 2021

WORSENING APAPA GRIDLOCK: We’ll expose saboteurs of e-Call Up system —Maritime workers

Apapa Oshodi Gridlock

…Police, LASTMA officials have failed

… As motorists seek military intervention

By Victor Ahiuma-Young & Godfrey Bivbere

Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, yesterday, threatened to expose those it believed are sabotaging the e-Call-Up system by the management of Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, to tackle the perennial and chaotic gridlock bedeviling the Apapa-Oshodi expressway.

This came as angry commuters, who are groaning over the worsening gridlock on the ever-busy expressway, urged the Federal government to deploy the military to restore sanity on the axis.

President-General of the union, Mr. Adewale Adeyanju, who spoke with Vanguard, stated that the union would commence the naming and shaming of those sabotaging the e-Call Up initiative for personal gains to the detriment of the general public.

Adeyanju said: “Gridlock on the port access roads has become a recurring decimal. The negative effect of this on the nation’s economy is colossal and unquantifiable. The government must, therefore, find a permanent solution to this unpalatable situation. We applaud the management of the NPA for the introduction of the e-Call Up system, which is expected to reduce the number of trucks plying the roads.

“We want to encourage the NPA management not to succumb to the antics of detractors.

“We are aware that some individuals and shipping companies are sabotaging the system for personal gains. Soon, we will start exposing them. We shall name and shame them. We cannot continue like this. We are already compiling their names.

They have fed fat on the pains of helpless Nigerians. These people are two groups. One group is mainly security operatives and their touts that are making money through the gridlock. The security operatives extort money from the truck drivers through touts and area boys. They see the e-Call Up as a threat to their ‘pot of honey’. The other group is the shipping companies that do not have holding bays. They are responsible for most of the trucks you see parked from Ijesha, along the expressway, to Sunrise.”

Motorists seek military intervention as gridlock worsens 

Meanwhile, the perennial gridlock, yesterday, worsened trapping motorists, commuters and other road users for hours.

This, however, infuriated motorists and other road users, who were trapped for several hours on the expressway, to urge the Federal Government to deploy military personnel to return sanity to the road.

They argued that the situation has overwhelmed the Lagos State government and the NPA.

An angry businessman, Chris Nchekwube, who spoke to  Vanguard  after being trapped in the traffic for hours, lamented that: “I don’t know why we keep deceiving ourselves and believing that the Lagos State Government and the management of NPA have the capacity to bring sanity to the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway. You can imagine, the much-publicized and expected E-call up system, backed up by the Lagos State government, did not even work for a week before it collapsed.

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“I knew motorists and other road users, as well as those who do business in Apapa, were in for trouble when it was reported that the Lagos State Government had taken over the control of the traffic management of this road. It is obvious that only the military can bring sanity to this because the truck drivers need iron hands to comport themselves on the road.

Police, LASTMA officials have failed

“Both the police and LASTMA officials cannot control the truck drivers because they have soiled their hands. In fact, they have turned the road and gridlock into a money-making machine. They always turn blind eyes to the recklessness of the truck drivers after being compromised.”

Also speaking, a commercial bus driver, who identified himself as Tunde, said: “Only soldiers can save us from this traffic madness. I was n the traffic for over three hours. I entered it by 11:53 am. By 3 pm; I have not gotten to Fatgbems. The touts are agents of the LATSMA and others that are in charge.”

Another motorist, Mr. Segun Adekunle, who plies the road daily, told Vanguard that plying the road is like a death sentence.

On his part, a businessman who came from the eastern part of the country to pick a vehicle, Mr. Uchenna Mgbemere, told Vanguard expressed worry over the deplorable state of the road.

Mgbemere said: “Let me ask: how do you people survive here with the pollution, and all kinds of vices? I am already falling sick by just a day on this hell of a road.”

“The road has become a jungle, it appears there is no government here and people are left to their fate.

“We spend endless hours in the traffic and we see it as our cross for being law abiding citizens”, Mr. Chukwudi Ibe, a bus driver said.

Truckers not responsible for gridlock —NARTO

But the Vice Chairman, National Association of Road Transport Owners, NATO, in Lagos, Abdullahi Inuwa, absolved truckers from the traffic gridlock.

Inuwa said: “The Lagos State Government is doing something about the gridlock, those who ought not to be on the road have been cleared. They raided the place today (yesterday) and I think some days back. The state government made an announcement that all the previous team, operating along the route, has been disbanded.

“Most times, truckers obey government’s directive, while tankers flout it.

“This problem (gridlock) should be caused by tankers because truckers have no reason to remain on the road. I will make my findings and get back to you tomorrow.”

When contacted, the Assistant General Manager in charge of Corporate and Strategic Communications of the NPA, Ibrahim  Nasiru, said he was in a meeting and promised to get back to Vanguard but never did.

Vanguard News Nigeria