August 26, 2021

Apapa-Oshodi Gridlock: Sanwo-Olu’s traffic team fails

File image of traffic jam caused by container-laden trucks and tankers on Mile 2-Apapa Expressway.

•Blame Police, LASTMA for gridlock —Truck drivers

As hoodlums, miscreants take over

We must dismantle illegal checkpoints—NPA boss

By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Godfrey Bivbere

THE traffic situation along the Apapa-Oshodi expressway, yesterday, remained chaotic as truck drivers parked indiscriminately on the road, subjecting motorists and other road users to untold hardships.

The Electronic CallUp system introduced by the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, to reorder movement of trucks, on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis, seemed to have collapsed as truck drivers ignored all earlier rules and regulations on traffic movement.

The long queue of articulated vehicles stretched as far as Second Rainbow bus-stop, along the Apapa-Oshodi expressway to Otto Wharf, inward Tin-can Island Port.

Members of the Traffic Committee and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, practically abandoned their duty posts as they were not seen at troubled spots.

Miscreants, who had earlier disappeared from the road, returned to their nefarious activities, collecting bribes from articulated vehicle drivers.

The cudgel wielding miscreants had a field day extorting truckers in broad daylight.

Blame Police, LASTMA for gridlock—Truck drivers

Some of the truck drivers, who spoke to  Vanguard,  blamed the development on extortion by Policemen and LASTMA officials.

Motorists had heaved a sigh of relief on the axis a few weeks ago but due to extortion and activities by security personnel, LASTMA officials and members of the traffic committee, the gridlock continued.

The state traffic management committee was set up by Governor Bababjide Sanwo-Olu to restore sanity to Apapa and its environs which had defied all solutions applied previously in Apapa and environs.

As at press time, the chairman of the traffic committee, Mr. Oluwatoyin Fayinka, who is also Sanwo-Olu’s Special Adviser on Transportation, did not respond to several calls and messages sent to him. 

READ ALSO: Apapa-Oshodi Gridlock: Sanwo-Olu’s traffic team fails

Fayinka had earlier absolved his men of any complicity in the alleged extortion, pointing accusing fingers at regular state police from the division around the axis.

We must dismantle illegal checkpoints—NPA boss

However, as part of measures to curb the excesses, NPA had sought the support and cooperation of the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Maritime, the Nigerian Navy and Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, to clear all bottlenecks that impede the free flow of traffic on all port corridors.

The NPA acting Managing Director, Mohammed Koko, said this during a meeting between the AIG Maritime, AIG Amadi Ogbonnaya; officials of Lagos State Government, Commander of the NNS Beecroft, Commodore Bashiru Mohammed, represented by Lt Commander A.S Manga and Sector Commander of the FRSC, Matthew Cyril Zango, and government agencies in the maritime industry.

Bello Koko noted that efforts were being intensified to dismantle all illegal checkpoints with a call to truck drivers to resist extortion.

His words: “The authority would like the AIG to use his good office to assist in the following areas of interest or concern; strengthening the existing collaboration between the Lagos Police Command and the PAPC, assist in the challenge of persistent complaints by stakeholders of extortion and erecting illegal roadblocks by uniformed security operatives from government security agencies, unions, and associations on Port corridors.

“Other issues requiring the AIG’s urgent attention include assisting in follow-ups with the Force Headquarters, Abuja for additional maritime Police personnel/gunnery to enable the authority to commission its newly acquired patrol boats.”

Vanguard News Nigeria