By Gboyega Akinsanmi
With the failed intervention of the federal government to end perennial traffic congestion in Apapa and its environs, the Lagos State Government has disclosed that it has started working on a new approach to restore order on all road networks connecting Apapa Central Business District.
Also, the government lamented the growing harassment and assault of officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), noting that such act “attracts a jail term of two and a half years without option of fine”.
The Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Ladi Lawanson, made the remarks after a strategic session held at the State House, Alausa Thursday under the chairmanship of the state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode.
The session was also attended by LASTMA’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Chris Olakpe; LASTMA’s General Manager, Mr. Olawale Musa; Commissioner of Police, Mr. Imohimi Edgal and Chairman of Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Offences, Mr. Yinka Egbeyemi, among others.
After the two-hour strategic session, Lawanson acknowledged that Lagos residents “have been going through some hardship which has been occasioned by the gridlock we have in Apapa and its environs”.
Contingent on Apapa’s unresolved traffic challenges, Lawanson disclosed that the Lagos State Executive Council had come up with new measures and strategies to restore public order on all road networks in Apapa.
He disclosed that the state government “has a solution in sight. All we are going through now is approval process that is required to activate the solution. It has resolved to immediately implement the solutions to ensure Lagos resident can commute across the state with ease”.
Olakpe, a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, said the trailer park in Orile would be delivered very soon, expressing optimism that it would go a long way to address the issue of trailers parking along roads and bridges and causing congestion on such routes.
He said the trailer park “is in the front burner. It has received expedite action. We are sure the trailer park will be open in a short while to cushion the effect of the standoff trailers on the bridges and other places”.
Disturbed by the intractable traffic situation motorists have been contending with in recent times, Lawanson equally said the state government had fashioned out workable solutions “to ensure free flow of traffic across the state, especially as the yuletide season approaches”.
“What we have done is that we have got feedback from men and women who have been on the frontline mainly traffic officials and then the Commissioner of Police was with us as well to give us the perspective of security.
“So, most of the issues have been thrown up. We have together as a group strategised to end the gridlock. We have come up with what we think are solutions to make for better flow of traffic especially as we enter the ember months and the holiday season,” he said.
Explaining some of the strategies that would be adopted, the Chief Executive Officer of LASTMA, Olakpe, said the 1,000 officials recently recruited would be trained and deployed to the road before the end of the year.
He said the agency has also resolved to extend its operations from 5am to 12 midnight on a daily basis, adding that while the state government continues its palliative on potholes, LASTMA officials would be on ground to ensure free flow of traffic across those areas.
On rehabilitation of deplorable roads, Olakpe said the meeting resolved “to handle it in two ways; day time and night time. Night time mostly with travel signal lights and flood lights on ground for palliative to be made immediately from today, action would be seen that palliative will come and there would be smooth flow of traffic”.
“Don’t forget that we have recruited 1,000 more LASTMA officials. So, we are going to train them. Before Christmas, you would see them on the way and we intend to work from 5am to 12 midnight daily with the infusion of 1,000 men,” Olakpe said.
He, however, frowned on the spate of destruction of public facilities, especially wire barriers and signal lights meant to make life easier for motorists and residents, appealing to those in the habit of doing such to desist or risk facing the full consequences of the law if caught in the act.
“We have observed to our chagrin and dismay the vandalism of wire barriers and signal lights. They are frustrating the efforts of government. As government is moving forward, they are taking them backward by untoward conduct.
“So we want to say that from now, it has been resolved that those places would be fully backed up with man power in surveillance and monitoring strategy. So warn those who are the spoilers of good deeds that the hands of the law will catch up with them very soon.”
Olakpe, specifically, warned against harassment and assault of LASTMA officials by recalcitrant motorists, noting that such act attracts a jail term of two and a half years without option of fine.