…As e-Call-Up system collapses on Oshodi Apapa expressway, gridlock continues
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has vowed to publicly mention the names of prominent Nigerians behind the perennial gridlock situation in Apapa and environs.
However, contrary to expectations on free flow of traffic following commencement of the electronic-Call-Up system for port operations, Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, on Wednesday, was on total lockdown as fuel tankers and containerized vehicles parked indiscriminately along the road resulting in gridlock.
Recall that barely 72 hours into the commencement of new Call-Up System on Saturday, February, 27, 2021, in the administration of port operations introduced by Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Lagos State Special Traffic Management Enforcement Team expressed determination to sustain the new order in Apapa and environs as gridlock eased off.
Newly created Lagos special traffic team is headed by Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Oluwatoyin Fayinka, other members include: the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Central Business Districts, Sola Giwa, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Political Security Intelligence, Ayodeji Laurent, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP. Hakeem Odumosu and General Manager, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Engr. Olajide Oduyoye.
Speaking on Monday, during inspection and monitoring of compliance level on the new order, Fayinka, in company of Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, expressed partial satisfaction, saying, “There is still room for improvement.”
He stressed that all hands must be on deck to ensure total sanity and sustenance of the present traffic situation in Apapa.
Sanwo-Olu, while inaugurating the newly reconfigured Lekki 1 and 2 Abraham Adesanya Roundabouts, Lekki area of the state, said electronic Call-Up System launched, last Saturday, in the Apapa seaports was designed to permanently address movement of trailers in and out of the ports, and bring about traffic improvement along the corridor.
According to him, “The progress recorded in Apapa is hard-won. It took the State Government more than a year to gather all stakeholders on discussion table to agree on far-reaching approach to permanently address the problem.
“We gave a commitment that we will do everything possible to solve the gridlock problem of Apapa.
“Yes, you can say that it is taking us a year because we need to have a concerted effort we need to work alot from the background, and you remember that there was a first presidential task force that was there, so we needed to unbundled that and take it up.
“But beyond, that we needed to collaborate with alot stakeholders on that corridor.
“NPA being number one stakeholder that is working with us, federal ministry of transportation, all of the maritime operators, the unions that are in that corridor.
“And what we are seeing is the begining of a lasting solution that we have brought to Apapa.
“Our appeal is that we are not out of it completely yet, this is a taste of the pudding they say is in the eating.
“Our citizens has seen that what used to caused two to three hours can indeed take fifteen to twenty minutes for them to commune.
“We have seen that when we work together and we say that the resilient of Lagos, we can solve our problem internally, we have seen that indeed this can happen in our clime and environment.
“Obviously, what we are doing now is that we have take the unscrupulous people who have been benefiting from the gridlock, we have take whatever it is they are earning from them and we know they will want to fight back.
“I am facing the camera now that we will not stop at anything to ensure that anybody that tries to retract and take us back to where we are coming from on the gridlock on Apapa, we will do everything that we have to fight those people.
“We will name and shame them, we will bring out their names, be it a corporate organization, company, police officer, Lagos State officer, be it a union, that will say that solution that we have brought about will not work, they will go and answer to the citizens of Nigeria and Lagos. We will bring them to the public court for them to see that we are about seriousness.
“We cannot condole the recklessness and carelessness that our citizens have gone through.
“I want to use this opportunity to commend the MD of NPA because they have worked with us on this agenda.
“My appeal is to others who have not signed on to this wonderful call-up system that we have embarked upon.
“I want to call most of the big transport logistics companies, I am not calling their names because they have done anything wrong, but I want them to collaborate with us.
“SIFAX, I want to you come because we know you have huge numbers of trailers, DANGOTE, FLOUR MILLS, TUNDE FOLAWIYO, and others, let us have a system that our citizens will be proud of and that’s the real reason we are in government.
“We will stop at nothing because our guys will be working to ensure there are no surprises on the road.
“I want to say to our citizens that these are just one of our modest attempt to ensure that what we promised which is to solve transportation and traffic solutions in Lagos and we do it well.
“We are going to put resources there and ensure that whatever that we need to do to continue make Apapa free and flow, we will do it and do it well.
“Finally is to thank everyone that our job is not done yet, it is work in progress, and we will continue to ensure the solution that we promised you, we are not stopping until when we realized all.”
Sanwo-Olu also inspected the newly constructed Ogombo canal channel, which extends from Abraham Adesanya Junction in Ajah to the State’s Drainage System 18.
The junctions are part of the 60 vulnerable spots identified across the metropolis notorious for vehicular logjam and impediment to free flow of traffic.
In line with his administration’s traffic management agenda, Sanwo-Olu ordered the re-designing and remodeling of the identified traffic-prone spots across the State. Sixteen highways were captured in the re-construction and improvement project.
Other areas remodeled in the first phase of road improvement programme are Allen Junction, Ikotun Roundabout, and Maryland Junction.
However, gridlock resurfaced along Oshodi Apapa Expressway on Wednesday, as motorists and residents were stuck in traffic for several hours due to indiscriminate parking by truck drivers.
No personnel of the new Lagos Special traffic management team could be sighted, only touts and truck drivers were seen controlling traffic which was not moving.
There was traffic build up all the way from Sanya Bus-stop to Berger Yard, along Oshodi Apapa Expressway. Trapped motorists were seen bemoaning their fate as they called on Lagos State Government to make enforce the law.
According to Mr. Anthony Nwafor, a motorist along the axis, “We were all expecting this road to be free of traffic after Lagos State government threatened to impound any truck parked along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, but what we still have is a total breakdown of law and order.
“Are these truckers bigger than the government? What is really the problem that can not be fixed once and for all? Where are the men of the task force or traffic team, whatever they are called? It’s only touts and some members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, that are controlling traffic on this road. This is not supposed to be. Where are the LASTMA, police, and the rest of the security agents.”
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