The Lagos State Government wednesday unveiled fresh Joint Security Task Force to end traffic congestion and security threat in Apapa Central Business District arising from the uncontrollable activities of tankers, trailers and trucks.
The state government also disclosed its plan to fully enforce the 2012 Lagos Road Traffic Law, thereby directing officers of the state Police Command and other security agencies in the state to enforce the law.
These were part of the decisions reached at the Security Council meeting held at the State House, Ikeja, wednesday under the chairmanship of the state Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode.
The council meeting was attended by the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Imohimi Edgal: Commander of Ikeja Cantonment, Brig Gen. Elias Attu; Commander of NNS Beecroft, Commodore Murrice Ansa Eno, and Executive Secretary of the state Security Trust fund (LSSTF), Dr. Abdulrazaq Balogun, among others.
Edgal, who addressed journalists after the meeting, said the new task force comprising officials of the Nigeria Police, Nigeria Armed Forces, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) would immediately be deployed to the axis to ensure sanity and contain any potential security threat.
Edgal said while the issues that gave rise to the gridlock were being addressed, the task force would ensure that the roads in the axis were not totally locked down, and also prevent criminal elements from taking advantage of the gridlock to perpetrate their nefarious activities.
He said: â€œWe deliberated extensively on the Apapa gridlock. With immediate effect, the governor has approved the reconstitution of a joint task force to ensure that while the major problems that gave rise to that situation in the first instance are being tackled, we will ensure that we have a good semblance of decency on our roads.
â€œWe will ensure that we create a corridor for smaller vehicles and ensure that there is no complete blockade to free flow of traffic. We will also have plain cloth and uniformed security agencies ensuring that there is no crime in the axis due to the traffic gridlock.â€
The commissioner assured residents that every necessary arrangement had been made to ensure peaceful yuletide season, noting that the council also approved increased visibility and patrol in all parts of the state, especially in areas there are traffic gridlock as a result of construction activities.
Edgal disclosed that due to increased patrol, about 35 notorious traffic robbers were recently arrested in Ilupeju and Oshodi axis, many of whom he said are ex-convicts and would soon be charged to court at the end of investigation.
He said there had been about 35 per cent drop in issues of residential robberies as a result of the community policing and community safety partnership strategy adopted by the Lagos Police Command.
According to him, while more boats had been handed over to Marine Police by the state government to secure the waterways and riverine areas especially to checkmate incursions by militants and secure schools in such areas, in addition to the tactic guards already formed.
On the traffic law, the commissioner noted that security agencies in the State â€œhave been given marching orders to strictly enforce the traffic law, and that no lawlessly or breakdown of law and order would be condoned.â€
He urged all motorists and transport unions â€œto impress it on their members to obey traffic laws. Commercial motorcycle operators must not only refrain from restricted routes, but also use helmets both for rider and passenger and not carry more than one person at a time, among other rules of engagement.
â€œWe have the Lagos State Traffic Law and it is our responsibility to enforce the law. Motorists, motorcyclists and other form of road users must obey the law. Our men have been mandated to enforce all aspects of the law not only prohibition along some routes but also those aspects that have to do with safety.
â€œWe do not want officers and men to be challenged unduly when they are enforcing the law. I urge all the unions to call their members to cooperate with the police. They should not form themselves into pressure and riotous groups to challenge the police and other security agencies.â€