From Suleiman Idris, Lagos
In its determination to ensure free flow of traffic and safety on the road, the Lagos State Government on Wednesday commenced the process of clearing Apapa-Mile 2 axis of illegal parking of tankers and articulated vehicles.
This action, the government said is aimed at freeing Apapa – Oshodi Expressway of avoidable traffic gridlocks, and making the axis accessible to other road users.
Speaking in Lagos after a visit to the area, the General Manager of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Mr. Olawale Musa said despite series of meetings the agency had with the stakeholders on the imperative of freeing Apapa of all traffic impediments, vehicles were still parked on the roads.
According to him, no responsible government would fold its arms and allow lawlessness and impunity to reign.
The General Manager stressed that the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode administration is alive to its responsibilities and will not shy away from attending to the plight of the people.
According to him, this informed the setting up of a Special Task Force comprising of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigerian Navy, Police, Civil Defence and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) under the Chairmanship of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Edgar Imohimi to rid Apapa and environ of activities of illegal parking and menace of articulated vehicles.
He expressed optimism that with the creation of the Special Task, support and cooperation of other security Agencies and all stakeholders with LASTMA, issues of illegal parking of vehicles and other lawlessness will soon become a thing of the past.
Musa noted that at the stakeholders meeting held on Friday 17th November, 2017 at the NPA headquarters Marina, activities of articulated vehicles returning empty containers to the Port was identified as the major cause of traffic gridlock in the axis, as many of them had to wait up to ten days to discharge empty containers.
“This made them to park on the main carriageways for days and in the process impeding free flow of traffic. This was largely due to the fact that shipping companies that were supposed to provide holding bays for the empty containers in accordance with the license issued for them to operate in the country have either refused to provide or the ones existing were inadequate. The stakeholders have therefore resorted that henceforth, these vehicles are to use the following holding bays and terminals which includes, Comet Terminal, Joatelim, Ballore Transport and Logistics, HBX Terminal, Unity Bonded Terminal, Falcon Terminal, Port and Marine services and Duncan Terminal for their activities,” Musa said.
The LASTMA boss said the stakeholders also agreed that the all trucks currently loading at the port will be issued a docket indicating where they should return their empty containers instead of waiting ceaselessly on the roads to return them.
Musa assured the residents of Apapa and Lagos State in general that the current effort and exercise to restore sanity and orderliness to Apapa would be a continuous one, warning that anyone who defies government directive not to impede free flow of traffic will be dealt with according to the law.
He therefore enjoined all stakeholders especially the Shipping Council and Shipping Lines to sensitize and educate their members on the new directive.
It would be recalled that owners and drivers of articulated vehicles illegally parked on the roads at Apapa and environ have been given up to the Friday, November 24 to remove them from and failure to do so would lead to full enforcement of laws.