Vehicular and human movements were brought to a standstill, yesterday, following heavy influx of articulated truck and tanker drivers who parked indiscriminately along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, despite the presence of security personnel, thereby bringing commercial activities to a total halt.
Also, overwhelmed by activities of recalcitrant operators, the Lagos Special Traffic Management and Enforcement Compliance Team, expressed willingness to mobilise military personnel to complement the existing structure in ensuring compliance to the newly introduced Electronic–Call Up system in port operations, particularly along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.
Yesterday, truckers, particularly tanker drivers, parked indiscriminately along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway beginning from Sanya Bus stop to Otto-Wolf point and subjected other road users to untold hardship for several hours.
The presence and activities of the men of the Nigeria Customs Service stationed at Otto-Whaff also constituted a major factor to the gridlock around the area as trucks from the ports were scrutinized for clearance, leading to traffic build-up.
Commuters had to walk several kilometres to their places of work and businesses due to the heavy traffic jam.
Some drivers, who spoke to Vanguard, said the chaotic traffic in Apapa area of Lagos is being fueled by security agents who use civilians to extort truck drivers.
A truck driver, Salisu Yaya, said: “The security agents are the major cause of the gridlock in Apapa in recent times.
“Until the government exhibit enough will power to deal with this group of people, Apapa will not know peace in terms of free flow of traffic.”
But a member of the National Executive Council of the National Association Truck Owners, NARTO, Mr. Inuwa Mohammed blamed the gridlock on the ongoing road reconstruction adding that tanker drivers have not been integrated into the E-Call up system.
RTEAN faults truck e-Call-Up system
Some stakeholders in the nation’s ports transportation services, however, faulted the e-Call-Up system at Apapa seaports, calling for reforms barely one month after its take-off.
They urged the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, to address the loopholes in the system urgently.
The Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, RTEAN, insisted that the loopholes, on its part, not only hampered their operations, but also impacted negatively on their businesses and livelihood.
The Tanker Drivers are increasingly finding it difficult to access the tank farms because of the menace of other articulated trucks.
The tanker drivers you see on the Apapa–Oshodi Expressway left their families and loved ones from different parts of the country to come to Lagos lift products only to be held back and trapped on the road by the gridlock. We have no control over other articulated truck drivers.
They are not our members and as such, cannot listen to us. They have no union and we cannot control them as we control our members. Nobody controls other articulated trucks especially the containerized trucks. We call on the government to ensure sanity for every road user.”