.Apapa Gridlock

.Issues 7-day ultimatum to truckers to vacate or

By Olasunkanmi Akoni and Nelson Alu

Chairman of Apapa Traffic Management and Enforcement Committee, Mr Oluwatoyin Fayinka, who is also Special Adviser to state Governor on Transportation, has issued a seven-day ultimatum to truckers who are fond of parking indiscriminately along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway to vacate or have their trucks impounded.

The Apapa Traffic Management and Enforcement Committee was set up by the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to address the persistent traffic gridlock in the Apapa area and environs.

Meanwhile, the team admitted that the task of freeing Apapa of gridlock has not been totally achieved but it gradually getting to the point where gridlock will be a thing of the past.

Fayinka, who spoke with Vanguard, yesterday, accused the truckers of undermining the efforts of the team by parking indiscriminately along the road, particularly on Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, thereby causing gridlock subjecting motorists to untold hardships.

He said he has sent the seven-day ultimatum notice to the leadership of truckers’ union on the need to comply with the directive or risk been sanctioned.

Fayinka, said after the expiration of the grace the team would embark on total enforcement.

“There will be no sacred cow,” he vowed.

Also, Mr. Sola Giwa, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Sanwo-Olu on Central Business District and Head of Operations, Apapa Traffic Team, said the team is winning the war against traffic congestion and extortion of truck owners and drivers in the axis with the Electronic Call-Up System (ETO) designed to sequence and batch trucks coming into Apapa and Tincan Island ports.

Speaking to newsmen, on the efforts achieved so far by the traffic team and other government agencies to decongest the road in Apapa axis of the state, Giwa said 99 per cent of the trucks going into Apapa Port and Tincan Island Ports now comply with the electronic call-up system.

He said there had been great improvement compared to the situation of things nine months ago during the manual call up system, where trucks going to the ports usually caused heavy traffic from Onipanu to Apapa and from Cele bus stop to Tincan Island areas of Lagos, respectively.

He blamed the intermittent gridlock in Apapa mainly on broken-down vehicles, recalcitrant drivers and sometimes port operations.

Giwa also attributed some of the challenges hindering the flow of transportation at the ports areas to those known as ‘Movers’ who according to him are fighting hard to frustrate the E- Call-Up System because they are not comfortable with the new system, which has stopped their corrupt practices.

He said parts of the measures put in place by the enforcement committee to address traffic congestion is creating ‘time-delay for different categories of trucks – export containers, empty containers, flatbeds, manufacturing, and oil and gas – to move at different times in and out of the ports.

“Though, where are not we are targeting to be now, but we are gradually getting there. Those who were saying the e-call up system is not working are people referred to as ‘movers’. These people know several agencies and the enforcement agencies within the ports’ environments and they usually move trucks or fly trucks in the ports with the help of the agencies.

“There is a dedicated lane for all trucks to move but what the movers do is that they would go and meet someone somewhere that they have 50 trucks to move as against about 10 to 20 expected to be moved at a time.

“However, it is not possible again because even if you move your truck and pay everybody on the road to have your way when you get to the port you would not be able to enter because there is an access control system at the port.

“This access control is linked to where you are coming from, which is the Satellite Truck Park. So, immediately you come out of the Satellite Truck Park that has an access control. The one at the port will be notified that you are coming. So, when you get to the port it will open. If you have not been to the Satellite Truck Park, it will not open,” he said.

Giwa also debunked alleged extortion by the officials of the Lagos State Government around the ports, saying the e-call up system has reduced corrupt activities at the ports drastically.

He said those who are allegedly being extorted by movers are drivers, who themselves are cutting corners by working outside the e-call up the system and moving their trucks outside the time allocated for trucks to move.

“There is no gridlock in Apapa. Before now, for you to move a truck, during the TTP time, people pay as much as N150,000 to N200,000 to move a truck from Ijora-Olopa to Apapa Port because it is based on manual and anything that is manual has human interference.

“There are already tracks on that route that are waiting to go in one by one, so one big man will call someone and say I have 50 trucks I want it to pass. There is a lane that is dedicated for every truck to pass, so the big man will speed up and they would bring the 50 and move on the other lane that is free for other people to use.

“If anyone is being extorted, it means the person has done something wrong. They want to move at a time that is not theirs. The truck that ought to move in the night, maybe it broke down somewhere, still wants to move in the day so he can go back. That is the only thing we see as cases of extortion,” he said.

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