By Olasunkanmi Akoni and Godwin Oritse
The aggrieved members of the Marine Truck Owners Association, AMATO, have accused the police authority and officials of the Nigerian Port Authority, NPA, of thwarting the smooth functioning of the electronic calling system recently introduced in the ports of Apapa.
This came as the men of the Lagos Special Traffic Management and Compliance Enforcement Team established by the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to unlock the Apapa griclock, have become ineffective, the blatant disobedience of the truckers to the rules of engagement designed to restore sanity.
Recall that a stakeholder meeting held last week between representatives of the Lagos state government and union leaders in the port operation ended in stalemate last week.
The chaotic traffic situation continued along the Apapa-Oshodi highway on Tuesday, without the presence of the Lagos traffic team that subjected motorists and commuters to incalculable difficulties and at the mercy of traffic thieves and criminals. it closed completely when truckers and tanker trucks indiscriminately parked on the highway causing incalculable difficulties for motorists, commuters and businesses in the area.
The situation worsened with the ongoing road rehabilitation on the Lagos-Badagry Highway, and the effect spread to the Oshodi-Apapa Highway.
The only visible men controlling the traffic are criminals and few members of the truck drivers association around mile 2 and Otto-Wolf, inland from Tincan Island harbor.
The meeting, held in Alausa on Thursday, was convened at the behest of the state government as part of an effort to find relief from the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway stagnation through the electronic call system template.
The meeting was attended by the Chief of the Lagos Special Traffic Management and Compliance Team, Mr. Toyin Fayinka, and representatives of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, led by the President of the State of Lagos, Tayo Aboyeji, and the Association of Maritime Truck Owners, among others.
However, the meeting failed to reach a common agreement on the deployment of the electronic calling system by truckers, in particular, tanker truck drivers along the Oshodi-Apapa highway.
However, speaking at the end of the inconclusive meeting with stakeholders, Fayinka expressed concern about the development, saying “there must be a way out of the Oshodi-Apapa highway stagnation.”
In the meantime, he said he has directed the traffic team leader on the axis to ensure that at least one lane is available for other road users to use by moving all truckers into a designated lane.
Fayinka said that after the Easter holidays, the team would get tough on recalcitrant drivers by resorting to impounding vehicles that broke the traffic rule.
Stakeholders had blamed the current stalemate on ongoing road construction around the axis, tanker truck activities due to the large number of tank farms located along the axis, poor roads and corrupt practices throughout the security personnel involved in managing the traffic situation. axis.
Speaking on condition of anonymity on Tuesday, some truckers expressed their disgust at the misconduct of security personnel deployed to bring sanity to the Apapa traffic experience and evirons by modifying current efforts.
According to one of them, “the Apapa area of Ijora 7Up, Area B and Oshodi-Apapa Expressway are in total disarray as truck drivers loaded with containers and tanker truck drivers have taken over the road without taking into account the call fines.
“There is supposed to be an arrangement where the truckers have to make use of the RV parks and then call on NPA, but the situation is no longer the same as tricksters without calling tickets who are allowed access to ports by police and other NPA officials after collecting bribes, thus collapsing the system.
“Some of us with valid e-Call up tickets are left stranded in truck parks for days without being called and other truckers without tickets are moving on the highway without being called to order.
“If this situation is not corrected soon, we will all hit the road and abandon the truck parks because we cannot be obeying the law and law enforcement officers will be the ones encouraging others to disobey the law.”
Additionally, some stakeholders in the nation’s port transportation services had punched holes in the e-call-up truck control system at Apapa’s seaports, calling for reforms just a month after it took off. .