The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has dismantled all checkpoints mounted by the police along Apapa corridor from Surulere into the seaports as part of efforts aimed at easing traffic gridlock in the port areas and its environs.
He explained that the need to consolidate on the progress recorded in Apapa following the launch of the e-Call Up system for trucks and other articulated vehicles necessitated the move to dismantle all checkpoints along the ports.
Odumosu, who said that the checkpoints were part of the factors creating traffic along the the Apapa corridor, warned that dire consequence awaits any officer who returns to mount unapproved checkpoints along the Apapa routes.
Speaking yesterday when the State Government’s Taskforce team, led by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Toyin Fayinka, relocated to the area on Monday to enforce the traffic regulations, the police boss said only one checkpoint would henceforth be mounted in front of Sifax Depot that would be manned by Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) officers for enforcement purpose.
On his part, Fayinka said that all avenues would be explored to ensure the team retains the sanity being enjoyed in the area and remove all bottlenecks impeding free-flow of traffic in Apapa and its environs.
“Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is determined to get rid of the induced traffic congestion in Apapa. We started the enforcement last weekend and everyone can see that sanity is returning to Apapa. We will at stop nothing to ensure there is free flow of traffic on this corridor. Therefore, enforcement will be continuous.
“The Lilypond Truck Terminal being operated by TTP is gradually getting ready. There are few impediments that are preventing full utilisation of the facility. As part of the enforcement team, the police led by the Commissioner had read the riot acts to those involved. We have given the owners of the illegal structures a notice to vacate the area by next Saturday. Should they refuse, the Taskforce will do the needful,” he said.
However, while the development had been roundly hailed by residents and business operators, some man-made obstructions were yet to be addressed in the initiative.
Access into some of the approved parking lots created for trucks were still being obstructed by illegal structures and trading activities, making it difficult for trucks to move into the parks.
Although, the state government’s taskforce removed most of the illegal structures before the take-off of the e-Call Up system, some of the occupants were yet to leave. However, the taskforce ordered the complete removal of illegal structures blocking the pathway in the trailer parks.
Reacting to the development, a trucker, Usman Musa, said that the electronic solution had brought an end to years of agony he had faced on the route and that it had been a new lease of life for truck operators around the seaports since the initiative took off.
“If anyone had told me there would be a time when traffic at Marine Beach would flow freely as being seen today (Monday), I would contest it. The last four years were agonising for most of us working in this area. I used to spend three hours for 15 minutes journey,” Musa said.
Continuing, he said, “we support the action of the government in solving this problem and we have started to comply with the order that prohibits parking our trailers on the highways.”
A transporter, Ismail Olaitan, while commending Sanwo-Olu and Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Usman, for displaying strong will in enforcing the change, admitted that the innovation introduced had reorganised the chaotic operation of trucks around the seaports,
He said: “We are happy with this development. When the electronic call-up system was launched at the weekend, most of our colleagues took their trucks off the roads and moved into Lilypond Terminal in compliance. This new system will bring about positive impacts on our business, and this is why we are embracing it with joy. The old system had only brought us pain and sorrow.”
A property owner, Aloysius Oriakwu, lamented that businesses using his property as office space left at the height of perennial congestion that turned Apapa into a no-go area.
“I can now put my property up for rent again after four years. I support the initiative introduced by the Government and this must be sustained to prevent recurrence of the congestion,” Oriakwu said.