Following an early morning invasion of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Transit Truck Park at Ijora Lagos by hoodlums on Thursday, there are indications that traffic gridlock along the port corridor may fester as truck drivers have threatened to abandon the NPA facility.
The hoodlums brandishing machetes, daggers and guns had attacked truck drivers parked inside the NPA truck park and burnt down two NPA operational vehicles, one of which was attached to the Commissioner of Police in the Presidential Task Force on the decongestion of the Apapa traffic.
Our correspondent gathered that during the mayhem, one trucker unfortunately was caught in the quagmire and lost his life. Apart from these, properties worth millions of Naira were destroyed in the process.
While speaking exclusively with DAILY TREND NEWS, Chairman of Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMARTO) Chief Remi Ogungbemi alleged that this is not the first time the facility is being attacked.
Ogungbemi said it is high time that truckers vacate the NPA facility because it was becoming apparent that certain persons have vested interests in the facility which they feel is not being satisfied.
While giving a third person account of the crisis, Chief Ogungbemi who was in Abuja at the time said some police officers had reportedly led the hoodlums who attacked the NPA facility at Ijora.
He said “Policemen came there with guns, and they came with some hoodlums who also armed themselves with machete, the policemen started shooting while the hoodlums were using their machetes on truckers, I don’t know what led to this crisis because I was not there, but the picture sent to me and the version of the story I got was in line. I also saw two Hilux Vehicles of NPA that were burnt down”
“I cannot understand why or how police would now be working with hoodlums, and miscreants with machetes, this is an invasion of which the authority should be able to fish out the perpetrators, let them be brought to book”
“At this modern age, police should not be working with hoodlums wielding machetes”
“All I heard was that the Police came there and started chasing and macheting people to the extent that people started running helter skelter”
“Some certain people have vested interests in that terminal, this is the second time within a spate of three weeks, the same people came there to shoot, they even said they killed, though I was not there, they also came with hoodlums and machetes”
“I think it is high time that truckers vacate the whole area and allow the police to take over the job, because I don’t know why police should be invading the Lillypond terminal”
“With the pictures with me and the version of the stories I heard, I have no doubt in my mind that the police led miscreants to the terminal. But I don’t know if its the NPA police, task force police or the Lagos State police, but all I know is that police is police” Ogungbemi stated.
In a swift reaction, the Management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has condemned the attack, saying that the hoodlums resisted the activities of the Lagos State Task force on environment who were on a mission of restoration of law and order on the Port access roads and environment.
Against this backdrop, the NPA has assured the general public that the situation has been brought under control, even as it called on those doing business in the vicinity to go about their businesses without fear of molestation.
“Furthermore, management of the NPA reiterates that it will sustain the position of ensuring that it renders customer friendly services in a safe and secure environment” the authority said
“Recently, the World Bank report said that Nigeria had moved 15 steps from 146 in the Ease of Doing Business index. There is therefore need for government to build on successes accomplished in this regard so far. All hands must therefore be on deck in order to sustain this momentum”.
According to the General Manager Security, Olumide Omotoso, NPA Management has enjoined Port users and operatives to continue to be law abiding as the authority has placed adequate safety and security measures to safeguard lives and property in the Lilypond Transit Truck Terminal and its environs in Apapa.