The celebration of businessmen and workers in Apapa over unhindered free flow of traffic along the port access roads on Thursday has been shortlived, as two days after the President Muhammadu Buhari’s working visit to the port city, traffic congestion returned to the Lagos Ports access roads.
This came as it has been disclosed that the respite enjoyed by motorists plying the Lagos Ports access road was by fiat and pausing all economic activities in the city the day President Buhari’s came visiting.
However, a port expert and President of National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Mr. Lucky Amiwero disclosed that though the removal of all the trucks on the ports access roads on the day of the president’s visit, was by force, “it is an indication that the Apapa traffic gridlock is not uncontrollable or cannot be effectively managed, rather, the problem is that those who have become millionaires and multimillionaires as a result of abnormal situation are heel bent on ensuring that the truck e-call system or any other arrangement put in place on the management of Apapa traffic in the past does not succeed.”
“While I wish the new synergy between NPA and the Lagos State Government works, it is sad to say that those individuals who have been benefiting from the abnormality will still come against,” Amiwero said.
Our correspondent who went round the Lagos ports access roads yesterday reports that on while the Ijora Bridge inward Apapa was free, outward was congested by trucks laden with imports going into the country.
However from Mile 2 to Tin Can Island Ports was fully congested by trucks on both sides of the road.
Recall that the management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in its determination to put an end to the intractable traffic gridlock on the roads leading to the country’s two busiest ports in Apapa, last Saturday met with the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to adopt stronger measures to curb corrupt practices and alleged extortion of truck drivers by traffic and security operatives along the Lagos Ports corridor.
Acting Managing Director of NPA, Muhammed Beloo-Koko disclosed after the meeting that because of the involvement of several security units in the management of Apapa traffic, over many checkpoints have been created by the security units, “we believe there are over thirty checkpoints within the Apapa and Tin Can Port axis, and we believe that this is a major issue causing delays and a whole lot of problems, this was one of the concerns we raised at our meeting with His Excellency” he said.
He explained that two weeks ago after an assessment visit, he directed the “Eto” Project Consultant and operator of the Lilipond Truck Transit Park to redouble their efforts, especially on the deployment of necessary physical and IT infrastructure as well as adequate human resources, to address the gaps and complaints of delay from port users.
He disclosed that the Authority has given the TTP company “marching orders” to immediately see to the deployment of these infrastructures, so as to reduce the waiting time of trucks in and out of the port.
Only time will tell if the Ag MD’s directive has been obeyed and how far the new synergy between the Lagos State Government and the Ports Authority will solve the intractable Apapa traffic gridlock under control