By Dayo Badmus,
The Lagos State Government has again engaged the trailer/truck owners unions and other stakeholders towards eliminating the traffic congestion along Apapa-oshodi express way.
At the Stakeholders Meeting with the representatives of trailer and truck owners unions held at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, the Secretariat, Ikeja, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Hon. Oluwatoyin Fayinka, who is the Chairman of the Special Traffic Management Team, reiterated that any truck outside the call up lists generated by the Nigerian Ports Authority would be impounded if caught obstructing the flow of traffic on the road.
He disclosed that petitions from residents of Apapa, Ijora, Tincan, Sifax and Mile 2 received by the Ministry of Transportation, has been forwarded to his team against trucker’s unruly behaviour on the road which has prevented other road users from accessing their desired destinations with ease.
The Special Adviser declared that non compliance from trailer and truck operators will meet the full weight of the Law, advising that they utilize the grace period to get their act together and conform to directives issued out, he added that vehicles in poor conditions should be prevented from entering the ports and will be sanctioned if caught operating within the metropolis.
Fayinka also affirmed that the Nigerian Port Authority, the Nigeria Police, Federal Road Safety Corps and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority is working with his Team hand in hand with the information provided to manage traffic into Apapa and prevent the loitering of trailers and trucks along road which damage road infrastructure and contributes to traffic gridlock.
The representative of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Ayodele Durowaye while lauding Stakeholders present for their frank talk on Apapa situation, declared that the primary responsibility of NPA was cargo handling, stressing that the responsibility of keeping trucks at truck parks and holding bays during the process of port activities was solely that of the operators.
He alluded that trucks parked indiscriminately under and on the bridge as well as highways were an aberration and unbefitting in the Lagos Smart City Master plan, stating further that the State Government was within her rights to impound any truck causing obstruction and violating the States’ Traffic law as the Ports were transit points that have been designed to cater for cargos temporarily.
Also, present at the meeting was Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP. Hakeem Odumosu. He assured that the Nigerian Police would back up all Lagos State Enforcement Teams and Agencies, adding that touts activities would be checked and the issue of unnecessary check point at the Ports axis would also be collapsed as this was necessary in order to checkmate illegal business activities.
In the Affirmative, the Lagos Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, Olusegun Ogungbemide proposed that Standard Operational Procedures be developed to outline the role of every stakeholder in solving Apapa gridlock, adding that a harmonized strategy on the part of the unions and synergized efforts with terminal operators will aid in tackling the situation holistically.
In response to the address by the various Government representatives in the sector, Union representatives of Council of Maritime Transport Unions and Association, (COMTUA), Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Logistic Practitioners Association of Nigeria (LPAN), and National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwards (NAGAFF) appealed to Government to listen to them as stakeholders, stating that members of their Unions must regularly be carried along in further deliberations and processes.
They also requested the Special Traffic Management Enforcement Team to take deep steps and acquire necessary authorization to probe the Shipper’s Council, APMT, the Law Enforcement check points and Port operations, explaining that the unnecessary queues to the Ports that extend for weeks were being fuelled by the aforementioned groups.