The Lagos State newly constituted Traffic Management Enforcement Team saddled with the responsibility of resolving the intractable traffic gridlocks in Apapa, the Nigerian Ports Authority Security Team and other stakeholders have expressed their readiness to collaborate and devise a strategy to solve the issue occasioned by the loading of trucks and trailers at the port.
The Special Team will also enforce the zero-tolerance of the State government on traffic offenders in order to achieve a seamless traffic management system, while restoring sanity in and around Apapa towards creating a cohesive system that would aid the resurgence of business activities and a conducive residential environment devoid of traffic-induced stress.
Briefing the Press on the activities of the Team in tackling that Apapa gridlock in the last two weeks, the Chairman of the Team who is also Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr. Oluwatoyin Fayinka, explained that the Team, in consultation with others, has been able to design a road map and the strategy to be adopted.
Fayinka said, “Presently, we are in discussion with the various stakeholders, including the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Shippers Council of Nigeria, Terminal Operators and Association of Trucks Union on the best way to do business around Apapa Ports without any breakdown of law and order”.
He informed that part of the discussions held with the Truck Owners Association operating around Apapa was that each company should acquire Park Terminals to serve as holding bay for their fleet of trucks, pending when they are called up for loading, adding that NPA is already ramping up the Call Up System that will ensure that trucks not yet called for loading, do not park anywhere around the ports constituting obstruction to traffic.
Fayinka also assured that seven parks have been identified for the purpose of holding bay for trucks at various locations around the metropolis and they are located at Ojota, Obanikoro, Oregun, Olowotedo-Ibafo, Amuwo-Odofin, Orile-Iganmu, Okorisan-Lekki/Epe, adding that these parks will keep trucks away from the roads until they are called up for loading.
Expressing his displeasure at the situation at the Ports and its attendant traffic gridlock hampering the smooth operation of many businesses around the corridor and other parts of the State, Fayinka affirmed that the Nigerian Ports Authority’s Call-Up System will help greatly in reducing traffic gridlock around axis.
The Special Adviser hinted that the bridges around Apapa corridor, which have been turned to parking lots for trucks, were not designed to carry the weight of trailers for a long period of time, noting that the heavy-duty trucks being parked on the bridge leading to the ports will eventually damage the bridge and cause a collapse which would be catastrophic to the State and its residents.
Speaking in the affirmative, a member of the Traffic Management Enforcement Team, Mr. Shola Giwa stated that the Team’s onerous task of getting rid of stationary vehicles on the bridges and roads within a short period of time will only be achieved with the full cooperation of NPA.
Giwa, therefore, asked the NPA to make the Call-up System accessible to the Chairman of the Team to enable effective enforcement of the new directives for articulated trucks and tankers, saying that it will also provide a synergy that will bring lasting solution to the gridlock situation in Apapa.
The General Manager, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Engr. Oduyoye, who is also a member of the Team, charged the Nigerian Ports Authority to turn away trucks and tankers that are not road worthy and allow the traffic laws of the State run its course on deviant companies by embracing transparency in solving the gridlock problem at the Port.
Oduyoye also advised that a rescue system by the NPA be put in place in the interim to secure the immediate evacuation of the trailers from the roads and prevent extortion from the Law Enforcement Agencies, stressing that the bad state of the trucks and trailers cause most of them to break down on key road networks, thereby degenerating to gridlock and cause great inconveniences for motorists in the State.
In response to the expressed concerns and issues surrounding NPA, the General Manager, Security, Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Jamil Khalil, promised the Agency’s unrelenting support in freeing up Apapa from traffic congestion, while the NPA will work together with the State Government to proffer both short and long term solutions to the problem.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Kamar Olowoshago, stated that the Smart City vision of the State government will only be actualised if all stakeholders retrace their steps by taking responsibility for the damages done on Apapa and channel efforts and commitment to tackling the gridlock problems immediately.