Why Apapa gridlock persists, by Sanwo-Olu

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has blamed the continuous gridlock in Apapa and environs on corruption and other human factors.

The governor called for the sack of some officials by relevant authorities so that sanity and discipline could return to the area.

Sanwo-Olu spoke on Arise Television on the second anniversary of his administration.

He said: “The electronic call-up system introduced to restore sanity in Apapa is not working due to some factors, chief among which is corruption and some inconsistencies in the plan.

“The system does not allow containers to park in Apapa but in areas close by. Container are only to come into the port when they are called. But there are operational issues as to why the system is not working fine. Sometimes a container that is called up might be for offloading while the need inside the port is for loading. So, this creates a problem because the container cannot go back. The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and its stakeholders will have to fix this.

“Trailer/tanker drivers are also not captured in the e-call-up system, and they make up to 65 to 70 per cent of traffic in and around Apapa ports. They would also always threaten strike the moment you tell them to obey simple rules and nobody wants to hear of their strike.

“But we will have the conversation because you cannot be law to yourselves. You must have enough room to park your trailers/tankers inside your facility, and if you don’t have, you cannot bring them into Apapa.

“There is also the issue of officials removing barricades overnight and allowing containers to queue on the roads so that when you get to the port about 7 a.m, there are containers already blocking the road.

“We will ask the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to change all the policemen in the area and make them examples. Heads must roll over this persistent gridlock in Apapa, if we must have solutions.

“The Apapa port itself is overstretched. We need to have others. That is why we are planning alternative ports in Lekki and Badagry.”

The NPA management, led by its Acting Managing Director, Muhammed Bello-Koko, and other stakeholders, met with Sanwo-Olu at the weekend and adopted stronger measures to curb corruption and alleged extortion of truck drivers by traffic and security operatives on the Lagos ports corridor.

Bello-Koko stressed the need to strengthen enforcement of traffic laws on Apapa and Tin Can Ports roads.

Sanwo-Olu also said the ban on commercial motorcycles (Okada) would be gradual as the government was providing the First and Last Mile Buses (FLM) as alternatives in areas where Okada have been banned.

The governor said transport unions had reached out to the government on regularisation of the informal transport sector.

According to him, efforts are underway to leverage biometric data for approval of commercial motorcycle operation in areas where it had not been proscribed.

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