Taskforce not solution to Apapa gridlock, says AMATO Chairman
Apapa is synonymous with perennial gridlock and as a result of this the federal government has been issuing orders and constituting countless taskforce to combat it but till date, the gridlock has defied every presidential order and taskforce effort.
Against this backdrop, the Chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, has said he doesn’t believe taskforce can curb Apapa gridlock, stressing that taskforce is not solution to the lingering gridlock.
While speaking at the 2019 edition of Haulage & Logistics Magazine Annual Conference & Exhibition (HAULMACE), held on October 9 in Lagos, Ogungbemi faulted the various moves by the government to clear the persistent gridlock in Apapa area of Lagos by issuing executive orders, saying that they are not sufficient. He blamed the decrepit state of the roads in Apapa and its environ, which he said had continued to slow down traffic movement for trucks going in and out of the ports.
The AMATO Chairman said for presidential order to succeed, there must be an alternative place prepared for trucks to park when they leave the bridges and the roads. From personal observation, the Chief said 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 reiterated that the reason Apapa gridlock appears to have been eased for sometime before it started build up few weeks ago was because the Nigeria Port Authority releases her Lillypon Office as Truck Park, which accommodate over 1000 trucks.
Ogungbemi reiterated that the bad state of the roads contributed immensely to rickety state of most of the rickety trucks operating within the port area, stressing that rickety roads bring about rickety trucks.
He said “rickety roads bring about rickety trucks. Government is not giving the truck drivers the required recognition. Apapa gridlock appears to have been eased for sometime because the Nigeria Port Authority releases her Lillypon Office as a truck park, which contain over 1000 trucks. I don’t believe in taskforce.
“We need to sustain the truck clearance at Ijora Bridge. We need more truck parks. We need to expand our roads and infrastructure. Expansion is not done over night; it has to start from somewhere. The government should introduce automation truck call up system. We can only achieve sanity if the necessary infrastructure is provided”, Ogungbemi said.
The AMATO Chairman also lamented the nonstop extortion of truckers in and around Apapa, adding that many law is consuming truckers’ profit.
The federal government, it will be recalled, had issued various Executive orders to clear Apapa gridlock but the orders had achieved little or no success till date, more so the Apapa gridlock that appears to have reduced to a great extent, especially within Ijora Bridge –Leventis to wharf road before have started built up again.