NARTO Accuse LASTMA, Security Agencies Of Extortion On Port Access Roads Leading To Incessant Gridlocks At Apapa
The leadership of the National Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, yesterday, decried the continued involvement of officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, in the control of trucks into the port, saying it has worsened the traffic situation along the port access roads.
Task Force Chairman, Mr. Hassan Adekoya, said that officials now process Electronic Call-Up system, called ‘ETO’ tickets, as long as the truck owner is able to pay their charges.
He explained that the unregulated activities of the Police and LASTMA officials, who are heavily involved in extorting truckers, have created more problems for the implementation of the eCall-Up system introduced by the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and powered by the Transit Truck Park Limited.
He also blamed the worsened traffic gridlock around the Mile-2 on the extortion by security agencies and the recent protest embarked upon by Customs agents, a development that has stopped the movement of trucks in and out of the ports in Lagos.
A truck owner, Alhaji Tufa Akum, said that most trucks owners have abandoned the electronic call up system introduced by the NPA and patronizing LASTMA officials for their Eto tickets as they are now being processed right on the streets of Apapa.
Akum said: “To park on the port access roads, a truck driver or owner will pay between N25, 000 and N30,000 but for a sum of N120,000, your truck is allowed to park on the access and have Eto ticket processed and handed over to you. That is how bad it has become.
“A lot of unwholesome things are happening along the port corridor and the situation is getting worse.”
Also speaking, a truck driver, Abdullahi Azeez, who spoke to Vanguard, said: “Corruption has returned to Apapa. The miscreants and their agents are back on the road extorting us again. We are back to the former arrangement. ETO has failed again.”
Lagos govt keeps mum
But the Chairman of Lagos State Special Traffic Management Team and Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Toyin Fayinka, was yet to respond to messages sent to his mobile phone on the situation along the Oshodi Apapa Expressway.
Construction firm blocks Vanguard access road
Meanwhile, the main access road into the corporate headquarters of Vanguard Newspapers at Berger Yard bus stop, Apapa in Lagos was yesterday, blocked by a construction firm excavating concrete slabs on the service lane.
As a result of the blockage, Vanguard staff and staff of many other companies located along the service lane from the Customs office to a branch of the United Bank for Africa, UBA, were forced to access their respective offices by going all the way to Berger Yard bus stop, ascending the Kirikiri bridge and descending back to UBA, a circuitous distance of about two kilometres.
Kirikiri Bridge has been blocked by trucks laden with gases and petroleum products thereby forcing staff of Vanguard and other companies to spend hours to get to their respective offices which could have been easily accessed through the blocked customs office.
When the workers were accosted at the Forte Oil filling station, close to the main entrance, they said: “We have informed officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, and they have closed the road to all types of vehicles. You people should go up to Kirikiri bridge and find how to enter your offices. There is nothing else we can do for you. If you feel so bad, go to our headquarters at Sanya bus stop along Oshodi/Apapa expressway and lodge your complaint.”
The situation, however, changed a few hours later after the heavy-duty caterpillar, which was seen earlier excavating concrete slabs, stopped work and pulled out of the road thereby giving way for vehicles to access the service lane.
At the time of going to press, it was not clear whether the blockage will continue on Friday.