NPA Eyes PPP As Lilly Pond Truck Transit Park Fail To Address Gridlock In Apapa   

·Stakeholders trade blame over  failure

Apparently overwhelmed by the failure of the novel Truck Transit Park (TTP) in Ijora, to address the chaotic traffic into and out of Apapa, the Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA) says it is considering a public private partnership arrangement.

There has been a massive return of trucks to the roads and the bridges that lead in and out of Apapa, a development for which truck owners and drivers have been trading blame.

They affirm that the truck park, which the NPA donated to ease the passage of trucks to Apapa has failed, even as they attributed the failure to different reasons.

Recall that the NPA officially opened the Lillypond Truck Transit Park last year as part of efforts to stem the gridlock in Apapa, and the illegal parking of trucks on roads and bridges.

But reacting to why the truck park failed to address the illegal parking of trucks on the roads and bridges, the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, NPA; Mr Adams Jatto stated that the management is currently in search of a private investor, who will handle the park, as a  public, private partnership investment.

He disclosed that the would-be investor will run the park in such a way that will enable the envisaged call-up system to work. 

“What NPA is doing is to lease that place out on a Private Partnership and if you go to that place now, you will see that a lot of construction work is going on there, notwithstanding we are still making use of that place, although not fully, so we want to hand it to a private investor and make it in such a way that we will be able to have a call up system, that is what we are doing”, he told one of our correspondents last week.

Giving an insight into why the facility failed to address the parking of trucks on roads and bridges, the Chairman Association of Maritime Trucks Owners (AMATO); Chief Remi Ogungbemi   stated that arm-twisting, familirisation, among others are the reasons that led to the failure of the park.

He said: “I have been saying it times without number and I will still repeat it, there is solution to every problem, and if a door is locked, you can’t open the door with the wrong key, and what am I saying? people in authority has not provided the right key which they can use to unlock and surmount the problem, however we are working on something and which we intend to present to the relevant authority for consideration”.

“And again there are too many familiarisation around the system, people that are there, day before yesterday, are the people that are there yesterday, and are the same people that are there again today, doing the same thing over and over again, and if I can ask you, have you been hearing that a lot money are exchanging hands? What is the money used for and who are the beneficiaries of that money that are exchanging hands? Which means some people are benefitting from the chaos and they will not want the chaos or the problem to be solved? 

He however stated that discussion is in place with relevant agencies to ensure that the problem is tackled.

Also, speaking, the Vice Chairman of National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) Dry Cargo Section, Abdullahi Inuwa said the management of NPA recently reached a position with the truckers and the enforcement officers of the park, , mandating that all trucks must return to the transit park before accessing the port.

“I learnt that there was a meeting on Wednesday (last week) between the NPA, Enforcement and the truckers and a position was taken that all trucks must return to the transit park, and that all trucks should be admitted to the park, so I believe with this recent position, the issue of truckers parking on the roads and bridges will be resolved” he assured.