By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has said that about 7000 trucks had been certified fit for the proposed electronic call-up system aimed at sanitising Nigerian port system.
This is even as the Special Traffic Management Team set up by the Lagos State Government has warned that any truck outside the call up lists generated by the NPA would be impounded if caught obstructing the flow of traffic on the roads.
Speaking at a stakeholders meeting conveyed by the Lagos State Government in Lagos yesterday, NPA’s representative at the meeting, Mr Ayodele Durowaye assured that the authority would soon submit the routing plan showing the allotted movement for trucks.
He said that trucks parked indiscriminately under and on the bridge as well as highways were an aberration and unbefitting in the Lagos Smart City Master plan, stating further that the State Government was within her rights to impound any truck causing obstruction and violating the States’ Traffic law.
According to him, the ports are transit points that have been designed to cater for cargos temporarily.
The Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State on Transportation, Mr Oluwatoyin Fayinka, who doubles as the Chairman of the Task Team, said the certified 7,000 trucks is in line with the mandates given to the constituted Special Traffic Management Enforcement Team by the Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to resolve the incessant gridlock that has plagued Apapa and its environs.
He said that the Lagos State Government had continued to engage the trailer/truck owners unions and other stakeholders towards eliminating the traffic congestion on that corridor and in the State at large.
“Petitions from residents of Apapa, Ijora, Tincan, Sifax and Mile 2 received by the Ministry of Transportation has been forwarded to the team against truckers unruly behaviour on the road.
“This has prevented other road users from accessing their desired destinations with ease. We appeal to stakeholders to cooperate with the State Government to remedy the situation.
“Non compliance from trailer and truck operators will meet the full weight of the Law,” he said.
Fayinka advised the operators to utilise the grace period to get their act together and conform to directives issued out.
He added that vehicles in poor conditions should be prevented from entering the ports and such would be sanctioned if caught operating within the metropolis.
According to him, NPA the Police, Federal Road Safety Corps and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority is working with the tea, hand in hand with the information provided to manage traffic into Apapa and prevent the loitering of trailers and trucks along road.
He said that such loitering damage road infrastructure and contributed to traffic gridlock.
Commenting, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP. Hakeem Odumosu assured that the police would back up all Lagos State Enforcement Teams and Agencies, adding that touts activities would be checked and the issue of unnecessary check point at the Ports axis would also be collapsed.
In his remark, the FRSC Sector Commander, Mr Olusegun Ogungbemide advocated Standard Operational Procedures to outline the role of every stakeholder in solving Apapa gridlock.
He said that a harmonised strategy on the part of the unions and synergized efforts with terminal operators would help in tackling the situation.
The General Manager of LASTMA, Mr Olajide Oduyoye warned that under no circumstance should any LASTMA Officer be attacked or harmed while discharging their duties, advising that corrupt officers be reported with evidences.
Various operators at the meeting, however, appealed to the government to carry them in further deliberations and processes.
They appealed to the team to take steps and acquire necessary authorisation to probe the Shipper’s Council, APMT, the Law Enforcement check points and Port operations, explaining that unnecessary queues to the Ports that extend for weeks were being fuelled by these stakeholders.
At the meeting were representatives of the Council of Maritime Transport Unions and Association (COMTUA), Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Logistic Practitioners Association of Nigeria (LPAN), and National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwards (NAGAFF).