The Lagos State newly constituted Traffic Management Enforcement Team to resolve Apapa gridlocks and the Nigerian Port Authority Security Team have identified seven parks as holding bay for trucks around the metropolis.
The Chairman of the state team, Mr Oluwatoyin Fayinka, said this in a statement signed by the Assistant Director Public Affairs of Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, Mrs Bolanle Ogunlola, in Lagos on Thursday.
He said that both committees met to rub minds on the issue occasioned by loading trucks and trailers at the port, which had extended to major parts of Lagos.
Fayinka, a Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor, on Transportation, said that the team had been able to design a road map and the strategy to be adopted in tackling the issue.
“We are in discussion with the various stakeholders; the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Terminal Operators and Association of Trucks Union on the best way to do business around Apapa Ports without breakdown of law and order.
“Part of the discussions held with the Truck Owners Association operating around Apapa was that each company should acquire Park Terminals for their fleets of trucks to serve as holding bay pending when they will be called up for loading.
“NPA is already ramping up the Call Up System that will ensure that trucks that are not yet called for loading do not hang around the ports constituting obstructions to traffic.
“A total of seven parks have been identified for the purpose of holding bay for trucks at various locations around the metropolis. They are at Ojota, Obanikoro, Oregun, Olowotedo-Ibafo, Amuwo-Odofin, Orile-Iganmu and Okorisan-Lekki/Epe.
“These parks will keep trucks away from the roads until they are called up for loading,” Fayinka said.
He expressed displeasure at the situation of the port with its attendant traffic gridlock which had paralysed many businesses around Apapa corridor, with extension to other parts of the state.
Fayinka affirmed that the Nigerian Port Authority’s Call Up System would help greatly in reducing traffic gridlock around Apapa.
“Full enforcement will commence soon after due consultation with all stakeholders.
“The bridges around Apapa corridor which have been turned to parking lots for trucks were not designed to carry the weight of the trailers for a long period of time.
“The heavy duty trucks being parked along the bridge leading into the ports will damage the bridge over time and cause a collapse which would be catastrophic to the state and its residents,” Fayinka said.
A member of the Traffic Management Enforcement Team, Mr Shola Giwa, said getting rid of stationary vehicles on the bridges and roads within a short period of time would only be achieved with the cooperation of NPA.
Giwa asked the NPA to make the Call up System accessible to the chairman of the team to enable effective enforcement of the new directives for articulated trucks and tankers.
He said that it would also provide a synergy that would bring a lasting finality to the gridlock situation in Apapa.
The General Manager, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Mr Jide Oduyoye, also a member of the team, charged the NPA to turn away trucks and tankers that were not roadworthy.
He said that the traffic law of the state should also be allowed to run its course on deviant companies.
Oduyoye said that a rescue system should be put in place in the interim, to secure the immediate evacuation of trucks and trailers that break down on key road networks due to the bad state of roads.
This, he said, degenerates to gridlock and causes great inconveniences for motorists.
The General Manager, Security, NPA, Mr Mohammed Jamil Khalil, assured the of the agency’s unrelenting support in freeing Apapa of traffic congestion.
He said that the NPA would work together with the state government to proffer both short and long term solutions to the problem.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Mr Kamar Olowoshago, said that the Smart City vision could only be actualised if all stakeholders retrace their steps by taking responsibility for the damages done on Apapa.
He said they should channel efforts and commitment to tackling the gridlock problems immediately.