•Situation’ll be redressed soon, Task team boss assures
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Residents and motorists are lamenting the resurgence of gridlock on the Apapa-Oshodi expressway and environs, occasioned by high influx of trucks, after few weeks of respite.
The gridlock situation resurfaced last Thursday, when the erstwhile dislodged touts returned to roadblocks, extorting money from truckers and articulated vehicles.
Touts have taken over traffic control again, resulting in chaotic traffic.
The situation grew worse yesterday, as large numbers of trucks parked indiscriminately on the road, leaving only the middle lane for other road users. The bottleneck created has led into serious hardship to motorists who have to struggle to get through the chaos.
Residents and road users in the axis had relatively enjoyed smooth traffic situation in the last two weeks, because the activities of truckers were restricted to night hours, thereby making the traffic less chaotic during the day.
The men of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA; Nigeria Police and Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, had hectic times controlling the recalcitrant truckers.
With the current order on the axis, the electronic-call-up system, tagged: “Eto’ seemed to have been jettisoned or compromised by ports’ agents as truckers were given access based on bribe.
Mr. Jide Olalere, a motorist and worker in the area narrated his ordeal on the road last week Thursday and Sunday, how he could not get to work due to standstill traffic situation.
Olalere narrated thus: “We had few weeks of respite on this road when there was orderliness. We all thought we had seen the end to the traffic menace. I was surprised as the road started clogging up since last week Wednesday. It became worst on Thursday, Friday, spreading into this week.
“During the period of respite the touts disappeared but now they have returned to the roads, collecting money from truckers and in the process hampering free flow of vehicular movement. The Lagos taskforce should be alive to their work.”
Also, Mr. Julius Akpan, a worker in Kirikiri area, blamed the security and ports agents for the gridlock.
Akpan, lamented: “The touts are working for the security agents, particularly the police who have decided to mount various roadblocks for collection of bribe from truckers. If nothing is done to checkmate this, we will soon return to old order of chaos in the area.There are some groups who are bent on jeopardizing the efforts of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in restoring sanity to the area.”
Reacting to the development, Chairman of the Lagos State Special Traffic Management Team on Apapa Traffic, Mr. Toyin Fayinka, who is also the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, admitted the fact that trucks have returned to the area, saying, “we are not unaware of the high influx of the trucks along Oshodi Apapa Expressway.”
Fayinka also pointed accusing fingers at some corrupt police officers “who are out to line their pockets.
“I assure, the situation will be redressed soon. I and my team are on it. Some policemen are compromising. We will fish them out and appropriate sanction meted out, we can’t afford to lose the gains we have achieved in restoring order in Apapa. I implore the public to bear with us.”