· NPA ‘s enforcement begins today
The Lagos State Government on Wednesday commenced the process of clearing Apapa-Mile 2 axis of illegal parking of tankers and articulated vehicles.
This action, the Government said is aimed at freeing Apapa – Oshodi Expressway of avoidable traffic gridlocks, and making the axis accessible to other road users.
Speaking in Lagos after a visit to the area, the General Manager of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Mr. Olawale Musa said despite series of meetings, the agency had with the stakeholders on the imperative of freeing Apapa of all traffic impediments, vehicles were still parked on the roads. According to him, no responsible government would fold its arms and allow lawlessness and impunity to reign.
The General Manager stressed that the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode administration is alive to its responsibilities and will not shy away from attending to the plight of the people. According to him, this informed the setting up of a Special Task Force comprising of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigerian Navy, Police, Civil Defence and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) under the Chairmanship of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Edgar Imohimi to rid Apapa and environ of activities of illegal parking and menace of articulated vehicles.
He expressed optimism that with the creation of the Special Task, support and cooperation of other security Agencies and all stakeholders with LASTMA, issues of illegal parking of vehicles and other lawlessness will soon become a thing of the past. Musa noted that at the stakeholders meeting held on Friday 17th November, 2017 at the NPA headquarters Marina, activities of articulated vehicles returning empty containers to the Port was identified as the major cause of traffic gridlock in the axis, as many of them had to wait up to ten days to discharge empty containers.
“This made them to park on the main carriageways for days and in the process impeding free flow of traffic. This was largely due to the fact that shipping companies that were supposed to provide holding bays for the empty containers in accordance with the license issued for them to operate in the country have either refused to provide or the ones existing were inadequate. The stakeholders have therefore resorted that henceforth, these vehicles are to use the following holding bays and terminals which includes, Comet Terminal, Joatelim, Ballore Transport and Logistics, HBX Terminal, Unity Bonded Terminal, Falcon Terminal, Port and Marine services and Duncan Terminal for their activities,” Musa said. The LASTMA boss said the stakeholders also agreed that the all trucks currently loading at the port will be issued a docket indicating where they should return their empty containers instead of waiting ceaselessly on the roads to return them. Musa assured the residents of Apapa and Lagos State in general that the current effort and exercise to restore sanity and orderliness to Apapa would be a continuous one, warning that anyone who defies government directive not to impede free flow of traffic will be dealt with according to the law. He therefore enjoined all stakeholders especially the Shipping Council and Shipping Lines to sensitize and educate their members on the new directive.
According to him, “people should stop putting individual interest over and above public interest. Members of the public should also take possession of the already cleared roads, and not hesitate to inform the Agency of any broken down or abandoned tankers and trucks on Apapa – Oshodi Expressway as LASTMA has been empowered and positioned to response promptly to any distress.” It would be recalled that owners and drivers of articulated vehicles illegally parked on the roads at Apapa and environ have been given up to the Friday, November 24 to remove them from and failure to do so would lead to full enforcement of laws.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA) had also given November 23, 2017 (today) as the effective date for the take off of new measures which it added as necessary for implementation of Ease of Doing Business in the ports.
Reiterating commitment to enforcing the new guidelines, the NPA vowed to ‘’employ every legal means to ensure that there is sanity on the roads leading to the ports’’.
The NPA had vowed that, ‘’with effect from November 23, 2017, all shipping companies must house their empty trucks at their holding bays outside of the port location pending the time for vessel loading’’.
The NPA is also insisting that, “trucks called up to access the port must maintain a single lane profile as designated by new Traffic Management/Enforcement Team, comprising The Nigerian Police, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Lagos State Transport Management Agency (LASTMA), the Nigerian Navy, the National Civil Defence Corps and NPA Security’’
According to the statement , it has also been decided that, from today, “tramping trucks milling around in search of customers within the Port Area will be impounded by the inter-agency Traffic Management/Enforcement Team and dealt with in accordance with the law’’.
The NPA also said it would advertise for the licensing of trailer parks as a way of creating holding bay facilities for truckers.
In addition to the above measures, the NPA also added that it ‘’will deploy an effective call-up system which will link the port gate with the trailer parks facility and as such, trucks will only be called up at the appropriate time’’.