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Mile 2-Apapa expressway: Hold LASTMA, Police, others accountable — Truck drivers
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Mile 2-Apapa expressway: Hold LASTMA, Police, others accountable — Truck drivers

Tankers and trucks for about a week running have blocked the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway from Second Rainbow bus stop to Tin Port following the inability of the joint task force on

  • PublishedSeptember 14, 2023

Tankers and trucks for about a week running have blocked the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway from Second Rainbow bus stop to Tin Port following the inability of the joint task force on Apapa-Oshodi traffic gridlock, comprising Nigeria Police Force, Lagos Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA; and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, to manage the traffic situation.

The drivers claimed that they have paid all the agencies concerned but the development has led to a total collapse of business activities along the stretch of the road.
It was observed that the joint task force had completely failed to curb the excesses of the tanker drivers for over one week running as the chaotic traffic situation worsened.

The situation came to a height, yesterday, as motorists and other road users spent several hours on one spot due to the double parking and unruly driving by the drivers who refused to take directives from the joint task force officials.

Extortion of truck drivers

Investigation revealed that these officials are only united in extorting truck drivers, allowing them to flout normal road usage standards.

This development gave the drivers undue privilege to flout orders even when some prison officials returning from the court with suspects and Navy Officers returning to their base were denied access to their destinations.

The truck drivers alleged that they had settled the officials and should be allowed to “carry on the way they like by blocking the road without looking back.”

Rehabilitation works

The situation has also been worsened following the rehabilitation work being executed by the Lagos State government on existing roads leading to Kirikiri Town, Ajegunle, Wilmer and Boundary areas.

Though the rehabilitation work seems to have been abandoned, the blockage of the roads has made it difficult for tankers and trucks to struggle for the two lanes available, thereby causing unimaginable traffic gridlock.

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State of emergency

A motorist, who refused to disclose his name, told newsmen that the situation has got to the point that the Federal Government should declare a state of emergency along this stretch of road.

He said: “How can someone, who is going to work, spend five hours at a particular spot daily? There was a day I left home around seven in the morning and got to the office in the afternoon.”

Another motorist, Mr Peter Edet, blamed the government for being insensitive to the plight of the people living and doing business along the road while condemning the activities of the task force, which hardly controls traffic but prefers to play games on mobile phones.

Reacting to the development, the Unit Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, at Mile-2, Apapa in Lagos, Mr Godwin Ajuonuma, under whose jurisdiction the traffic gridlock has persisted, went around the area to assess the situation with a reporters.

Ajuonuma, an Assistant Corps Commander of the FRSC, urged the task force officials to double their efforts by ensuring that they force the drivers to keep at least a lane for other motorists to access their destinations.

Why we not visible at Mile 2 —LASTMA GM

Reacting to the allegations levelled against the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, its General Manager, Bolaji Oreagba, explained why officers of the agency were not visible around the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway axis.

Oreagba explained that LASTMA officers were withdrawn from the axis following a series of allegations of fraud and harassment by members of the Nigeria Police and Nigerian Port Authority, NPA.

He said: “The absence of LASTMA around Mile-2 axis inward of the seaports should be blamed on the management of the NPA, Police, and Maritime union leaders who chased away our men over allegations of extortion and fraud. They were accused of collecting bribes from truckers thereby compounding the traffic gridlock in the area.

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“We had to withdraw our men for fear of being attacked because they claimed it’s a Federal Government’s controlled area.

“The NPA and maritime union leaders said our men have no business in the axis as the Call-Up System has been discarded with.

“So, we are still watching the situation for now. We don’t want to risk the lives of our men.

“We will have to convene a stakeholders’ forum to chart a way forward. For now, our men have been withdrawn from the axis. “Though they still operate at Second Rainbow to Fatsgbem Filing Station area for now, we still have to do our job by keeping the traffic moving.”

Gridlock from Tin-can ports—NUPENG

On his part, Deputy President of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, Kilanko Olujide, absolved members of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTDs, of blame, saying taker drivers were also victims of the gridlock.

Olujide said: “The problem is from Tin-can ports. Our members are also victims. They cannot go to the depot located at Ibru jetty, and other tank farms to load products.

COMTUA accuses MWUN of extorting truckers

On its part, the Council of Maritime Transport Unions and Associations, COMTUA, said officials of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, were allegedly extorting truckers.

The National President of COMTUA, Adeyinka Aroyewun, who petitioned the Inspector-General of Police, insisted that the presence of MWUN on the port access road has resulted in severe crises and unfortunate deaths within the industry.

The petition read: “COMTUA firmly believes in the rule of law, fair practices, and the safety of all individuals involved in the maritime industry.

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“We are committed to maintaining a conducive environment for the growth and development of our sector. However, the return of MWUN to the port access road represents a clear and imminent danger to these principles.

“We, therefore, request your urgent intervention to prevent another crisis of MWUN to the port access road and to ensure the safety and security of all truckers, workers and stakeholders operating within the area. We kindly ask you to deploy a strong police presence to deter any illegal activities, maintain law and order, and protect the rights and interests of all industry participants.

“Furthermore, we encourage you to collaborate with other relevant government agencies, including the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA and Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, to jointly address this pressing issue. A coordinated effort must be made to safeguard the integrity of the maritime industry and protect its stakeholders from further harm.”

Arrest culprits— MWUN

Reacting to the allegations levelled against MWUN, its President-General, Mr Adewale Adeyanju, urged security agencies to arrest any of its members extorting truckers.

Adeyanju said: “I told the Commissioner of Police that whoever is caught is on his own. Other groups are operating on the road, you have National Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO; National Association of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, LASTMA, Police, local government, etc. Why are they always picking on MWUN?

“I have addressed all my members, I was at Tin-can and Apapa, I have no business on the road. The road belongs to the government, so anybody caught still parading himself as a member of MWUN, the law should take its course.

“I said it before the Assistant Inspector General of Police and before the Commissioner of Police that there is no element of truth in the allegation.”
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