Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Thursday visited major traffic points in Apapa area of the state to get a firsthand experience of the gridlock which has defied solutions in recent times, just as he appealed to the Federal Government to mobilise the contractor awarded the construction of Apapa road networks to immediately return to site.
The Governor who was accompanied on the visit by top officials of the state government and security agencies, said he was particularly disturbed about the traffic commuters and motorists are
condemned to on a daily basis, which he said was largely due to the indiscriminate parking of articulated trucks attempting to access the port and tank farms located within the axis.
“What we have done in the last three hours is trying to find out what are the issues that partake to Apapa. We’ve all seen that the gridlock in Apapa is multifaceted. We have examined things that relate to activities of trailer drivers and tanker drivers”, the Governor said, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Habib Aruna.
Alluding to the fact that the network of roads in Apapa belong to the Federal Government, he lamented that the Tincan Bridge, which has been under construction for about six years was abandoned, which has given rise to tankers parking indiscriminately on the road “It is totally unacceptable that we would be having tankers and trailers on our bridges. It is also not acceptable that they would decide to block all lanes that lead to Apapa. We’ve also seen that we must do something immediately to alleviate the challenges that the residents and businessmen are facing”.
“But again, you’ll also realise that the roads that lead to Apapa Wharf and Tincan Island actually belong to the Federal Government.
We’ve come to this Tin Can Bridge, it has been under construction in the last six years, we’ve also seen a trailer park that can actually contain about 500 trailers at a time that has been abandoned by the Federal Government”.
“What we want to do now is firstly to appeal to the Federal Government and most especially Mr. President that the contractor working on this particular bridge should come back to site and once we are able to open the trailer park, we would be able to allow other trailer and tankers to use the park”.
The Governor also expressed concerns about the activities at the 57 tank farms in the area, saying they constitute great security challenge for the state government, adding that owners of the farms will be summoned for a meeting soon.
“The greater part of this challenge is posed by the tank farm owners. As we speak we have 57 tank farms around Apapa alone, that’s a major security challenge for the state government.
“We have to start to look at the security issues relating to these tank farms. All trailers across the country come to these tank farms and the tank farm owners, we are going to direct them in the next few days, they would be summoned to a meeting and they have to tell us what is their remedy to this menace that we are having in Apapa”.
As a palliative measure towards ensuring free flow of traffic, Governor Ambode said a task force would be immediately set up to ensure 24 hours surveillance of traffic flow while stressing that the Lagos Road Traffic Law will be enforced to the letter.
“Right now on our part, the immediate palliative is that we would set up a task force that would involve most of our security agencies including the police and we would do a 24/7 monitoring of the traffic.
“We would pay more attention to enforcement. From this evening you would see that there would be more attention on enforcement and we would also fund that enforcement. We are going to give
incentives to our law enforcement officers to ensure that the Lagos Traffic Law is obeyed”.
The Governor also assured that road networks in deplorable state in Apapa will also be given attention.
Governor Ambode, who also visited traffic points in Ajah Roundabout assured that a joint task force will be immediately deployed to ensure free flow of traffic.
“We’ve all agreed, we need a flyover here, but we can’t give you a flyover until maybe about 12 to 18 months before it can be delivered.
What we are going to do is to ensure that we enforce the traffic law here 24/7. I’ve listened to your suggestion. Yes, you have said we don’t need to make use of the roundabout, we can create other outlets to allow traffic to flow easily”.
“We are going to deploy our men here, we are going to have a joint task force here to allow traffic flow. It doesn’t make sense after paying toll then you now spend three hours to get to your home, we don’t want that and that’s what you are going to see in terms of what we are going to deploy regarding solution”.
In his remarks, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Kayode Aderanti, observed that the Apapa road network and the activities of tanker drivers call for great security concern, expressing optimism that with improved road network, there will be little room for hoodlums to perpetrate crime.
On her part, Executive Secretary of Apapa local government, Bolaji Dada, also hinted that meetings have been held at the council towards finding a lasting solution to the gridlock in the area.