Insists heads must roll for a solution
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has blamed the persistent gridlock in Apapa and environs on corruption and human factors in operation at the axis despite series of interventions by the government.
Sanwo-Olu, however, called for the sacking and redeployment of some officials operating in the axis by relevant authorities in order to have requisite solution and restoration of sanity, discipline in the area.
Sanwo-Olu, made the remarks while appearing on an early morning Television Show in Lagos, on Monday, with panelists, led by Dr, Rueben Abati, with the highlight on the second anniversary of his administration as well as achievements and State of the Nation.
According to him, “Electronic -call up system for container operation in Apapa was meant to restore sanity in the areas surrounding it. But there are operational issues as to why the system is not working fine. And Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and its stakeholders will have to fix this.
“The roads are not also good to go, some are under construction, a lot of corruption is going on in Apapa. We will ask the Inspector General of Police to change all policemen in the area as well as NPA and make them examples. Heads must roll over persistent gridlock in Apapa if we must-have a solution to it.
“Apapa port is overstretched, and we need to have others. We are planning alternative ports and we are doing that with the Lekki and Badagry seaports. The trailers/tanker drivers are not captured in the e-call up system, and they make up 65-70 percent of traffic in and around Apapa ports.
“But they will always threaten to strike the moment you tell them to obey simple rules and nobody wants to hear of their strike. But we will have the conversation because you cannot be a law unto yourselves.
“You must have enough room to park your trailers/tankers inside your facility and if you don’t have, you cannot bring them into Apapa.”
Sanwo-Olu said NPA and the Lagos State government have both gone back to the drawing board to restrategize on how to subdue the intractable gridlock in the area.
Recall that the management of NPA led by its Acting Managing Director, Mr. Muhammed Bello-Koko, at the weekend, met with Sanwo-Olu to adopt stronger measures to curb corrupt practices and alleged extortion of truck drivers by traffic and security operatives along the Lagos Ports corridor.
The NPA boss alongside the Executive Director Marine and Operations, other management staff, including Port Managers of Lagos Ports Complex and Tin Can Island Port Complex, Managing Directors of Apapa Bulk Terminal and Dangote Port Operations among other stakeholders, held a meeting with Mr. Governor and his team at the Lagos House in Marina.
Speaking at the meeting, the NPA Acting MD harped on the need to strengthen enforcement of traffic laws along the Apapa and Tin Can Ports roads.
Bello-Koko stated that the NPA has received series of petitions of extortions from truckers, especially by security operatives, including the Military, the Police, and NPA Security, demanding money from drivers before accessing the ports.
He described the ugly practice as a major disincentive to the smooth implementation of the truck call-up system.