In a distressing turn of events, residents and road users on the Mile 2 Apapa road down to the Cele bus stop on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway have lamented the return of traffic congestion caused by tankers and truck drivers along the ever-busy road.
Our correspondent has noted that commuters are now grappling with a return of traffic congestion, with some spending hours navigating the stretch between Mile 2 and Tin Can port.
The surge in traffic, our correspondent gathered has not only tested the patience of commuters but has also cast a shadow on the profitability of businesses in the area.
Several road users who voiced their frustrations also attributed the traffic resurgence to the year-end spike in the number of tankers and trucks converging on the port for businesses.
This is even as they pleaded with the government to urgently regulate the movement of tankers in and out of the tank farms to alleviate the growing chaos.
Speaking to our correspondent, some of the tanker drivers lamented that they have been on the road for weeks waiting to get to the tank farms where they are expected to load petroleum products.
Muheeden Ishola; a tanker driver stated that he had been on the road for three days waiting for his turn to get to the tank farm to load petroleum products. He said, “I have spent close to three days now between when I got to Cele bus stop and Mile 2 and it is because the number of tankers coming to load is quite high, so it is not our fault, if you observe we only maintain one lane; the truck drivers are the ones blocking the road”.
Speaking also, a truck driver who only identified himself as Opeyemi said the traffic congestion along the road is as a result of the yuletide period, stating that the number of trucks going into the ports multiplies during this period (Yuletide), stating that it is a usual occurrence towards the end of the year to have the congestion currently being experienced.
However, Aloga Ogbogo, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) acknowledged the heightened activities towards the end of the year.
He emphasized that the influx is a recurring issue during this period and not a sudden resurgence. Ogbogo also noted that the removal of fuel subsidy had impacted the consumption of petroleum products, curbing smuggling practices.
Ogbogo explained that, “the year-end activities bring about a beehive of tanker and truck movements. It’s not a sudden issue; it happens every year. While the removal of fuel subsidy reduced consumption, the end-of-year rush contributes to the current traffic situation.”
The NARTO Executive Secretary hinted at the possibility of incidents in other regions affecting the flow of goods, citing the poor state of roads in Calabar as a deterrent for loading there. He proposed that functional pipelines and depots across the country could mitigate the need for trucks to converge on Lagos for loading.
“If the pipelines were functional, with depots in various regions, trucks wouldn’t need to come to Lagos. The government should address security concerns around pipelines and invest in infrastructure to match the cargo throughput increase,” Ogbogo asserted.
On his part, a truck owner and chieftain of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa blamed the government agencies that issue licenses to tank farm owners without ensuring that they have holding bay.
He said the lack of holding bay for tankers coming to load at various tank farms has been the cause of the traffic currently being experienced.
He urged the government to expedite action by mandating all tank farm owners to create holding bays, where the tanker drivers can park before going to the tank farms to load.