Apapa Gridlock: Truck Drivers Demand Extension Date For Presidential Task Team 

...Say extortion of truck drivers no longer exist

Truck drivers operating  in and around the Apapa port axis have pleaded with Vice President,Professor Yemi Osinbajo for an extension of date for the Presidential task team in charge of traffic at the Apapa port axis.

Recall that the President had recently constituted a task force headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, with a mandate to restore law and order within Apapa and all adjoining streets leading into Lagos ports within two weeks.

The directive  by the President also mandated the Nigerian Navy and all other military formations  to withdraw from traffic management duties.

In a recent chat with our correspondent, the Vice President of National Association of Roads Transport Owners (NARTO) Dry Cargo section, Mr Abdullahi Inuwa lauded the Presidential task team for the efforts since taking over the responsibility from the military

In his words "Since the presidential task team has taken over we have not paid any money to anybody for parking space, you know before now truck drivers paid as much as N60,000 to N70,000 to the Navy and other military formations just to gain entrance into the port. 

"But with the Presidential task team we have not paid a dime to anybody except some of the old police team that used to work with the Navy before the presidential task force took over.

"So they have spread themselves to different areas by trying to extort our drivers, but wherever such demand is made, our drivers report such to the Presidential task team leader Hakeem Odumosu who is a Commissioner of police.

"And whenever we get the information of those who are extorting the drivers, we will then call the attention of the Presidential task team who will go and dislodge them.

"So extortion of money from truck drivers have reduced, but I was recently informed that the Presidential task team were given two weeks to operate but I think there is need for the Presidency to extend their stay at the Apapa axis for a longer period for them to get the desired result of what they have worked for.

"When you pass through Western avenue, you will see that it's clear, this people are working night and day, and we know very soon trucks drivers who have no business in the port will cease from the road, so we however want to plead for extension of stay for Presidential task team so has to have the desired result" he said.

Buttressing his counterpart the Chairman Association of Maritime Trucks Owners (AMATO), Chief Remi Ogungbemi said the intervention of the Presidential task team has helped to restore sanity on the road,  and has well stopped unnecessarily demands of money from truck drivers, while calling on the government to take holistic look at other articulated trucks belonging to companies operating within Apapa the port axis

" The Presidential task team has been able to restore sanity to the port, and extortion of trucks drivers have stopped, however the government must also look at other articulated trucks that still operates within the port axis.

He said trucks belonging to Dangote, BUA, Flour Mill Nigeria Limited, and Honeywell, as well as sided trucks, are given preferential treatment. 

“The selective nature of the directive is the cause of the problem; the directive shouldn’t have been selective. You said Dangote should go, Arewa should go BUA should go, Flour Mill should go in, the directive should have been total, let all the trucks leave the road so that they can regulate. But since they are being selective, that is why it may be difficult at the long run.

"However they have been able to restore sanity and stopped extortion of truckers on the road and that is a very big plus for them", he said.