Despite Presidential Order, Trucks Block Apapa Port Access Roads


Eromosele Abiodun

Despite the order by President Muhammadu Buhari for trucks to vacate Apapa roads, there was no respite yesterday for commuters and residents of the area despite the public holiday declared by the federal government as trucks occupied all section of port access roads

THISDAY’s investigation revealed that trucks completely blocked port access roads and overwhelmed the security operatives managing the traffic.

But at the Lagos Port Complex and Creek road section of the port access road, trailers and other heavy-duty vehicles were parked in orderly manner.

Commuters who spoke to THISDAY wondered why the truckers refused to hid the federal government’s directive to vacate the ports access roads.

A commuter, Mrs. Ojerinde Esther, told THISDAY that, “this situation is terrible; how can we continue like this? You, the pressmen, if you have the president’s number please give it to me let me talk to him. How can he give an order last week and we are still facing this problem?”

In the same vein, the Ojuelegba-CMS section of the road, which was cleared by the task force set up by the federal government last week was also blocked yesterday, forcing commercial buses and motorcycles to drive against the traffic

It is a different story from Mile 2 to Liverpool Road section of Apapa-Oshodi Express way as articulated vehicles blocked the road despite efforts by the Presidential Task Force on Apapa gridlock to remove them from the ports access roads.

The dilapidated state of the Coconut and Tin-Can axis of the Apapa-Oshodi highway had prevented the task force from clearing that stretch off articulated vehicles on Sunday, thereby leaving pockets of articulated vehicles on the Mile 2 axis.

National President of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Remi Ogungbemi, had told THISDAY yesterday that his members are complying stressing that trucks are still on the road because the government order was restricted to containerised trucks.

Speaking on the matter recently, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, had blamed the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing for failing to complete the trailer part at the Tincan Island Port gate for over 10 years.

She therefore called on the ministry to conclude the Tincan Island Port trailer park to help address the problem

“I call on the Lagos State Government to use overriding public interest and withdraw some of the land allocations they have for trailer parks so that they can be developed into standardised parks for use of the state. The traffic situation will not reduce in Apapa unless there is a concerted effort in providing trailer parks. I will also use this opportunity to call on the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to conclude the trailer park inside the Tincan Island Port, the ministry has been constructing the park around Tincan Island Port access for the past 10 years.

“I have held discussions with the ministry over two years ago when I assumed duty and requested that the trailer park be handed over to the NPA so that we can conclude the shore protection and have it ready. Fixing that trailer park along with what we have currently at Lilypond will go a long way in decongesting the traffic. The gridlock in Apapa has been lingering for long; the NPA in the last three weeks withdrew the lease for the Lilypond Terminal and converted it into a Trailer Transit Park (TTP). We have also called on the Lagos State Government to provide land for TTP for overriding public interest; we need trailer parks and holding bays to enable us to manage the traffic. We cannot have a situation where all the trailers do not have designated parking. We must have as state or local government a place for trucks to park, “she said.