APAPA GRIDLOCK: SHORELINE PROTECTION, WATER AND ELECTRICITY DELAY TRUCK PARK
By Samuel Victor Akpan
According to the National Shippers Council, there are over 60 tank farms in the Apapa-Tin Can logistics corridor that was not planned for when the road network of the area was built. The NSC also says 7000 trucks enter the port areas daily, thus leading to concerns over the sustainability of the much-anticipated plan to return things to status quo in the area and the state in general.
Two weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that the trucks which had made the roads and highways its home be removed, there still seem to be a lot of issues surrounding its removal, even as the roads evidently look devoid of the trucks which has made movement in Lagos State a burden for residents in the state for as long as can be remembered.
Residents and Stakeholders have narrowed the problem of the inability to move the trucks completely from the roads and into the ports down to six factors which include bad roads, poor traffic management in the area, lack of call-up system at the ports from the tank farms, limited parking within the area, bribery on the part of security operatives and poor road capacity for the high number of trucks coming into the ports.
Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on the restoration of law and order on Apapa port access road, Kayode Opeifa had recently said in a media tour to the area that the construction of shoreline protection, water and electricity were the only issues delaying the take-off of the Tin-Can Island truck park. He also said that illegal customs checkpoints on the port access roads have also contributed to the traffic situation in Apapa, adding that customs ‘ management had been informed of the development but that nothing had been done to that effect.
With the Presidential deadline all but up and the situation not completely resolved, issues of incomplete compliance to the presidential directive as well as sustainability of the solution itself amongst others have cropped up, leading to inquests into the situation so as to unearth the loopholes and see what can be done to remedy this salient situation.
Has the task force set up by the President been successful? What were the challenges? Has the task force met its set objectives? These were the questions our PM Hub team of Sandra (@sEzekwesili) and Aghogho (@aghoghooboh) put forward to Mr Olawale Musa, General Manager lLagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) on the show Hard Facts.
Olawale, while speaking on the phone to Sandra and Aghogho, explained that the task of executing the President’s directive was a team effort involving the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), LASTMA and the Police, adding that his team (LASTMA) have been “part and parcel” of proceedings at the Apapa port and its environs.
When quizzed on the role of LASTMA specifically in the entire process, he explained that about 300 members of LASTMA were at all the traffic control points to ensure movement of traffic and that his team have been able to remove about 120 trucks that didn’t comply with the President’s directive from the roads, adding, “we have been the core agency when it comes to removing the recalcitrant trucks on the road”.
However, Olawale bemoaned the treatment of LASTMA officials by drivers on the route saying officials of LASTMA have “paid the ultimate price” while doing their jobs.