Due to recent traffic bottleneck that has taken over Apapa and his environs, the Lagos State Government on Friday directed owners and operators of articulated vehicles/trucks and petroleum tankers to stay away from Lagos “for now.”
At a press conference jointly addressed by officials of the state as well as members of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners, AMATO, in Lagos, the government said the incessant traffic bottleneck had impacted negatively on the commercial activities of the citizenry, adding that the directive would be enforced to eliminate the current hardship being faced by motorists.
Addressing the briefing, the State’s Acting Commissioner for Transportation, Olanrewaju Elegushị, said investigations revealed that the traffic lockdown was a direct result of the challenges being faced by operators of the ports which had made it impossible for them to load the articulated vehicles/trucks that have come from the hinterland to evacuate imported items from the ports.
He said the gridlock was worsened by the current rehabilitation of some major roads and other minor roads which necessitated the closure of some roads in Apapa, adding that the situation had led to the traffic bottleneck and backflow of the articulated vehicles to places like Ojuelegba on the Funsho Williams Avenue, Surulere.
Explaining the reason for the State’s directive, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde, said the Apapa gridlock had also become a reoccurring problem due to the constant breakdown of operations at the ports.
“Clearly, it is the breakdown of operations at the port that is the monster causing this reoccurring issue,” Mr. Ayorinde said.
“We keep having this issue of gridlock in Apapa because issues that the Ports Authorities and the concessionaires are dealing with are recurrent and the spillover effect of those issues are causing all these.
“If the ports can’t determine how many trucks they are able to deal with on a daily basis; how they are informed about coming in and going out, then it will be a problem to deal with.
“What we need to do is to keep on engaging with them, we keep on engaging with other states and so on. I mean people who have trucks in other states and already know that there is a logjam in Lagos, why send other trucks to Lagos?
“While clearing the mess that the Lagos State Government did not cause, can people not consider it logical to wait for a few days for us to clear this and this is the reason why we are saying that trucks should stay away from Lagos in the interim.
“The idea is not to say don’t come into Lagos. It is part of what makes the economy of Lagos what it is; but we are saying let us deal with the logjam that we have presently and there is no way we can deal with it, we can only deal with the effect because the causes essentially have to do with the operations at the Ports and that is why we are appealing to them.”
Mr. Ayorinde also said that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, had been unable to load products from its Mosimi Depot in Ogun State due to vandalisation, noting that tankers hoping to get fuel across to the South-west States are stranded in Lagos.