Apapa gridlock returns as security operatives feast on road users
In addition to the poor road conditions and lack of truck holding bays, the nefarious activities of some security officials, especially those of the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Police drafted to control traffic on major roads in Apapa are responsible for the resurgence of gridlock in the area, according to findings carried out on Thursday.
This is even as findings revealed that only truck drivers that part with a minimum of N10,000 per truck are allowed access into the port by the security operatives while others are detained on the already choked road.
The gridlock assumed a worrisome dimension on Wednesday morning as traffic on major routes in and out of the port city came to a standstill.
The stretch of traffic extended from the Tin-Can Island Port end to Mile 2 with all the lanes on the ever-busy Apapa-Oshodi expressway blocked down by trucks and tankers.
The Ijora Wharf end did not fare any better as trucks and tankers occupied a major chunk of the road with the queue stretching to as far as Obanikoro on Ikorodu road. Many motorists had to abandon their vehicles to trek long distances to get to their destinations.
Further findings revealed that the resurgence of the gridlock is not far-fetched as only those who pay a certain amount of money were given the right of passage into the port.
A port security officer attached to one of the terminals at the Lagos Port Complex (LPC) Apapa accused security operatives, responsible for directing traffic in Apapa, of turning the gridlock situation to “big business”.
According to the port security officer who declined not to have his name in print as he is not authorised to speak, “On Tuesday night, for instance, only trucks belonging to a certain operator were allowed into the port from midnight until 5am for reasons best known to them.
“Apart from the bad stretch from the back of Leventis through under Marine Bridge to Ijora ascent that requires urgent palliatives, Police and Naval officials aid certain categories of people to disrupt the flow of outbound traffic.
“On Tuesday night, all outbound traffic was stopped from about 2359 hours till 0515 hours for privileged trucks to drive one-way to their facility.
“Having being kept on hold for more than five hours, the outbound traffic had accumulated and was disorganized, with all manners of queues and lanes formed, coupled with the bad stretch is the immediate cause of the outbound gridlock we have been witnessing.”
Several road users, who expressed frustration at the gridlock, also blamed the traffic control officials for allowing the situation degenerate to the present level.
Oyinlola Bakare, who identified herself as a staff of a shipping agency said, “I have been here at Ijora for more than three hours. I left my house in Surulere since 6am just to get to work before 7am but here I am still stuck between trucks with no hope of any movement.
“The Police and Navy who are working on this road are not helping matters. All they do is collect money from trucks and stop those that cannot pay on the road. That is why everywhere is blocked. The government should help us. This suffering is too much.”
Another road user, Charles Omokaro who also works in Apapa said the immediate remedy to the gridlock is to stop the use of one-way by some truck drivers as it not only confers an undue advantage on some truckers but is also against the traffic law.
“In addition to this, the authorities must call the security officials to order. They should stop collecting money and stop preferential treatment of trucks on the road,” he added.
Efforts to get the Spokesman of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), Mr Mahmud Abass, proved abortive as text messages and calls put through to his mobile phones were not responded to as at the time of filing in this report.
The NPA Spokesman, Mallam Isah Suwaid too could not be reached as at the time of filing in this report as he didn’t pick calls put through to his mobile phone.
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