Apapa Gridlock Cannot Be Cleared By Presidential Orders Truck owners
The Chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners, Chief Remi Ogungbemi , has faulted the various moves by the government to clear the persistent gridlock in the Apapa area of Lagos by issuing executive orders, saying that they are not sufficient.
Recall that the Federal Government had issued various orders to government agencies to clear Apapa of articulated vehicles such as tankers and container-laden trucks but the orders had achieved little or no success .
In July of 2018, the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, ordered a 72-hour joint operation to remove stationary trucks from Apapa and ease the gridlock.
The exercise was successful for as long as it lasted, but after that period, the gridlock returned.
In November, it will be recalled that PresidentM Buhari issued another order, giving a two-week ultimatum for the immediate removal of all trucks from the bridges and roads in Apapa.
In line with the directive, operators of trucks and tankers were ordered to vacate the port access roads within 72 hours.
A task force led by a former Commissioner for Transport in Lagos State, Mr Kayode Opeifa, was constituted to implement the order with members drawn from the Nigerian Ports Authority and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.
The exercise witnessed momentary success for a few days but that was not to last.
Speaking in with pressmen in Lagos Ogungbemi explained why lasting success was not recorded from the order.
First, he blamed the bad roads that had continued to slow down traffic movement for trucks going in and out of the ports.
He confirmed the observation that most of the trucks that were ordered off the roads went into residential areas and caused a lot of problems for residents of surrounding communities like Ajegunle and others.
He explained by saying for such order to succeed, there had to be an alternative place prepared for the trucks to go to on leaving the bridges and the roads.
Ogungbemi further explained that trucks did not enjoy parking along the roadside or on the bridges.
He said, “It is not to their advantage to park on the roads or on the bridges. They are doing that because the structure of the port operations has been tampered with.
“When the port was built, a dedicated place was also built as a truck park but for reasons best known to the government, they removed all those places and instead utilised q them for other activities”.
“I can tell you that in the past, you could not come to Apapa and find a single truck along the road”.