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Ports road gridlock: Reactions as Lagos Gov’t plans takeover from presidential taskforce

Operators within and around the Apapa seaports in Lagos have traded blame over the congestion and misconducts being experienced especially along the access road. Governor…

Operators within and around the Apapa seaports in Lagos have traded blame over the congestion and misconducts being experienced especially along the access road.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State who visited Apapa on Monday to ascertain the causes of the incessant gridlock, queried the trucks parked along access roads.

In a reaction to the governor’s finding, blamed each other for the woes.

The Committee of Freight Forwarders and Maritime Truckers (COFFAMAT) blamed the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) officials, Presidential Task Force on Port Decongestion, and the police for the corruption that allowed truck drivers to park indiscriminately on the road.

The Council of Maritime Transport Union and Association (COMTUA) however absolved the police and the Taskforce, accusing COFFAMAT, truck drivers, and other stakeholders of not playing by the rules.

A customs-licenced clearing and forwarding agent, Mr. Boniface Okoye, also heaped the blame on the customs for giving undue access to the shippers’ council to leave empty containers at the port areas, while accusing the police of looking away after allegedly collecting kickbacks.

Sanwo-Olu intimated the stakeholders of the state government’s move to checkmate activities of all operators that had led to the problems being experienced in the area.

The governor wondered why container-laden trucks not yet called upon for loading were indiscriminately parked on the rehabilitated Tincan road, instead of moving into the approved terminal.

He therefore disclosed move by the state government to take over the enforcement of the Presidential Task Force on Port Decongestion and create a new operational template for the task force, which will be enforced by a combined team of officers of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and the police in order to restore sanity to the area.

“Our plan is to bring about a cohesive system where all stakeholders would understand their roles and resolve challenges being encountered. Since last year, the Presidential Taskforce has been working on this issue.

“Now, there is a process that is starting in which the State Government is taking over the task force.

“This is one of the reasons for this trip to Apapa today; to ascertain what needs to be done.

“We will have a team of policemen and LASTMA dedicated to Apapa Ports for enforcement of task force’s mandates,” said the governor.

Sanwo-Olu also said that the sharp practices and inadequacies observed in the handling of the container operations at the ports would be escalated to the Minister of Transport while the misconduct of the policemen stationed close to the ports would be reported to the Inspector General of Police (IGP).

It was the fourth time Governor Sanwo-Olu and members of the state cabinet would be visiting Apapa over traffic congestion, which has impacted negatively on businesses and lives in the environs.

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