The Task Force on Apapa Restoration Traffic Gridlock Briefs The Press, Identifies Challenges
The presidential team which was set up by the office of the Vice President addressed the press and there they table their success story, their challenges especially with the area boys, police and list the way forward.
AN UPDATE FOR PUBLIC BRIEF
Consequent upon the Presidential directive issued on Wednesday 22 May 2019 to free Apapa Port Area Access roads and traffic with clear terms of references, specifically for the immediate clearing up of the Apapa gridlock and the restoration of Law and Order to Apapa and its Environs within two weeks.
A. The directive mandates the:
1. Immediate removal of all trucks from the bridges and roads within Apapa and all adjoining streets leading into the Apapa axis.
2. The development of an efficient and effective management plan for the entire port area traffic, including the cargo, fuel distribution and business district traffic;
3. Enforcing the permanent removal of all stationary trucks on the highway,
4. The development of an effective manual truck call-up system, pending the introduction of the electronic truck call-up system.
5. The implementation of a workable Empty Container Return and Export Container Truck Handling Policy, amongst others.
6. Remove extortionist and illegal traffic control groups around Port operations
B. And to facilitate all above, the directive also mandates:
1. Operators of Trucks and Tankers have also been directed to vacate the Port Access Roads within the next 72 hours.
2. The Nigerian Navy and all other military formations have also been mandated to withdraw from traffic management duties in and around the Apapa axis.
3. Military and paramilitary checkpoints in front of the ports and environs are to be dismantled.
4. LASTMA authorised to move into Apapa as the lead traffic management agency.
5. NPA to commence the immediate use of the Lilypond Terminal and Trailer Park A as a truck transit park.
C. The directive further mandates compliance by all security personnel and MDAs, while heads of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, and all other security operatives are to ensure their officers’ adherence to the new directives.
Despite the non full compliance of Paragraph B.1-6 above, the Task Team immediately went into action, to meet with Major stakeholders namely NPA, NSC, FMPWH, LASG, Truck operatives, Licensed Customs Agents, Freight forwarders, Nigerian Police, Nigerian Navy, media organizations among others through town hall-style meetings, one on one and phone discussions.
As of today Monday 3rd June 2019, the Task team has been able to achieve the followings despite frustration from interested parties benefiting from the previous situation:
Clearing and removal of Trucks and articulated vehicles from many of the affected Lagos Highways namely; Ikorodu Road, Funsho Williams Avenue, Surulere environs, Eric Moore area, Iganmu area, Eko Bridge, Apongbon, Ijora up to Sifax and Lagos Waterworks end. While restoring orderliness on Marine Bridge and through to Port gate via Wharf road with manageable truck movement which we are working to remove in the next few days despite the non-availability of the Tin Can Port Gate Truck Park as directed in the Presidential directive.
Working with NPA management, have deployed and working to perfect the use of Lilypond terminal to serve as Holding bay for Empty Container Return Trucks and the focal point of the NPA Manual Call up system despite its inadequacy to operate 24 hours due to non-availability of security and visibility lightings. We have also identified an additional 33 Private Truck Parks expected to feed Lilypond as a way of keeping the Trucks off the highways.
On Marine Beach/Ijora Bridge, while Trucks have not totally disappeared on the highway due to the capacity and efficiency of Apapa Port to handle Empty Container Return and other deliveries with right of way to the Port, we have maintained a steady flow with ongoing plans to partner with a private truck park to serve as a temporary holding bay for flatbeds to ensure reduction of truck presence on the bridge within the next few days before our deadline bearing cooperation from all stakeholders.
On the Tin Can Port axis comprising Apapa Oshodi Expressway, Mile 2, Kirikiri and Ajegunle area, the Task team have just commenced the processes of Restoring Law and Order which had been greatly eroded beyond comprehension by various interests and enforcement agencies, Transport unions, Area boys and some military personnel who have turned the 10 Lane dual carriage road to a Truck Park, extortion field, ATM machines with Trucks moving in all directions against traffic on LANES despite the deplorable condition of the road and flooding. Hitherto, Truckers pay as much as N65,000 to N120,000 spending weeks to have access and use the road.
The Task team has since commenced our restoration of Law and Order by meeting with various groups, the Nigerian Police Area Commands and Divisions, traditional leaders and some youth groups in the area. We are gradually rearranging movement and hope to be able to restore normalcy very soon.
Working with the FMPWH we hope to commence rehabilitation work on the inbound lane by Friday 7th of June to pave way for complete palliative of major sections of the outbound lane. While the palliative exercise is expected to cause congestion, we hope to manage the situation by the restoration of Law and order.
To the Major Manufacturing concerns located in the Port area, we are consolidating on an arrangement that provides them with unhindered access to their Plants for deliveries and at specific periods.
We appeal to the general Public, media outfits and various stakeholders especially those on the Tin Can Apapa Oshodi axis for their understanding and support in our bid to implement the Presidential directive. No doubt the assignment is daunting, it’s a Work In Progress and we are determined to systematically approach it and deliver despite the numerous frustrations and sabotage from those benefiting from the previous chaotic order.
We also appeal to Freight forwarders and the Truckers union to please direct their trucks to the APPROVED Private Parks for call-Up to the Port via LillyPond Truck Terminal.
We will, however, remain focused and make a recommendation to the government for sustainability.
To avoid an embarrassing return to the gory past of insanity and disorderliness, consistent monitoring must be effected.
It is a long road.
We shall get there.
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