The Lagos State Government has disclosed that it would be impounding heavy-duty trucks operating outside the call up lists generated by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) that was introduced to eliminate the protracted traffic congestion in Apapa and its environs.
It explained that the move had become imperative after the government noticed that some drivers and truck owners were operating outside their allotted time which was contributing to the incessant gridlock that has plagued Apapa and its environs.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Oluwatoyin Fayinka, said that the decision was reached as part of measures to ease the mandate of the Special Traffic Management Enforcement Team constituted by the state’s Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in resolving the protracted traffic congestion.
Fayinka, who also doubled as Chairman of the Special Traffic Management Team, said that the team has continued to engage heavy-duty truck owners, unions, and other stakeholders towards eliminating achieving a traffic-free Apapa and its environs.
Speaking at the stakeholders’ meeting held on Thursday at Adeyemi-Bero Auditorium, the Secretariat, Ikeja, the special adviser reiterated that any truck operating outside the call up lists generated by the Nigerian Ports Authority would be impounded, if caught obstructing the flow of traffic on the roads.
He disclosed that several petitions from residents of Apapa, Ijora, Tincan, Sifax and Mile 2 received by the Ministry of Transportation and forwarded to his team, complained of the unruly behaviour of truckers which has prevented other road users from accessing their desired destinations with ease.
Appealing to stakeholders to cooperate with the state government in correcting the anomaly, the special adviser declared that non-compliance from trailer and truck operators would be met with the full weight of the Law.
He advised the haulage vehicles to utilise the grace period to get their acts together and conform with the issued directives, adding that vehicles in poor condition would be prevented from entering the ports and sanctioned if caught operating within the metropolis.
Fayinka also affirmed that the NPA, the Nigeria Police, Federal Road Safety Corps, and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority are collaborating with his team to manage traffic into Apapa and prevent the illegal parking of trailers and trucks causing severe damages to road infrastructure and compounding traffic gridlock.
The NPA representative at the meeting, Ayodele Durowaye, lauded the stakeholders present for their positive contributions, stressing that the primary responsibility of the NPA was cargo handling, hence the responsibility of keeping trucks at parks and holding bays during the process of port activities is solely that of the operators.
He alluded that trucks parked indiscriminately beneath and on the bridge, as well as highways, were aberrations and unbefitting in the Lagos Smart City Master plan, noting that the government has rights to impound any truck causing obstruction and violating the States’ Traffic law as the ports are transit points designed to hold cargoes temporarily.
Durowaye assured that the agency would submit the routing plan showing the allotted movement for trucks to unveil impediments caused by the indiscriminate stop and search that hamper the efficiency of the call-up roaster and cause delays, recommending that allegations levelled against the Shipping Lines should be addressed with petitions to enable penalties, including ship entry notice denials and cancellation of licenses of the erring shipping line.
Furthermore, the NPA representative stated that about 7000 trucks have been certified fit for the proposed digitalised call up system, and that effective from 27th of February, 2021, trucks must approach the ports from a holding bay or truck parks with a bar code to access the ports.
In his contribution, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, assured that the police would back up all Lagos state enforcement teams and agencies, adding that touting would be checked to checkmate illegal business activities, while the issue of unnecessary checkpoints on roads to the ports would be collapsed.