Commercial vehicles and road users plying the Tincan Island and Apapa ports routes have tasked Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode to brand truck drivers who have blocked the express roads as terrorists.
According to some of them, who spoke to Gtechnews, truck drivers have defiled all reasons and have become lords of the roads, with no remorse or inkling of the security implications.
An agent, Nnamdi Obi said if there was an emergency of any sort, a lot of casualties and even dead bodies would be counted because there is no escape route.
“Just look round, there is absolutely no way to escape anywhere. If I were the Governor, there is no point issuing ultimatum to them to move out. He should pick the leaders, they have an association, let them be jailed without trial because they are terrorists. If they are threatening the security of the country, their offence should be likened to that of treasonable felony”.
Another road user,Seun Iyiola explained that if the the Ambode led administration do not solve the challenge with a drastic action, the administration would be taken for granted.
“You can imagine, these truck drivers have blocked all the lanes. From Second Rainbow till you get to Tincan Island port and beyond, these drivers have blocked both the slow and fast express lanes. While commercial vehicles are forced to navigate one way, which is quite risky.
“Before the directives for them to move, they maintained a decorum and only a lane was blocked but now all the lanes have been blocked. This is the only country that everything goes and truck drivers and their association can take the government for a ride”.
On the otherhand, a bike rider Nuru Bala who expressed himself in smattering English language said all the roads have also become dump site that does not portray a good image.
Prodded on why this is so, Bala explained that aside the regular flood, there is no clear cut drainage and the truck drivers and some resident also heap dirt on the roads.
“Walahi, government should do something fast,”he said.
Gtechnews learnt that almost every month in the last two years, fatal accidents with loss of lives have been recorded. And among such accidents was the one involving a maritime journalist, who died instantly on the spot from a truck driver who crushed him and the bike rider.
Aside deaths, some people have been maimed for life owing to such accidents. And on daily basis, no fewer than 10 people have always fallen off the bike because of the very narrow space left from the express road.
Meanwhile, at the weekend,the Lagos State Government directed owners and operators of articulated vehicles/trailers and petroleum tankers to stay away from Lagos for now in order to address the recent traffic bottleneck.
The government noted that the incessant traffic bottleneck had impacted negatively on the commercial activities of the citizenry.
Commenting, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Steve Ayorinde, said the Apapa gridlock had also become a reoccurring challenge due to the constant breakdown of operations at the Ports.
“Clearly, it is the breakdown of operations at the Port that is the monster causing this reoccurring issue. We keep having this issue of gridlock in Apapa because issues that the Ports Authorities and the concessionaires are dealing with are recurrent and the spillover effect of those issues are causing all these.
“What we need to do is to keep on engaging with them, we keep on engaging with other states and so on. I mean people who have trucks in other states and already know that there is a logjam in Lagos, why send other trucks to Lagos? While clearing the mess that the Lagos State Government did not cause, can people not consider it logical to wait for few days for us to clear this and this is the reason why we are saying that trucks should stay away from Lagos in the interim.
“The idea is not to say don’t come into Lagos. It is part of what makes the economy of Lagos what it is but we are saying let us deal with the logjam that we have presently and there is no way we can deal with it, we can only deal with the effect because the causes essentially have to do with the operations at the Ports and that is why we are appealing to them”.
The Commissioner explained that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had been unable to load product from its Mosimi Depot in Ogun State due to vandalisation, noting that tankers hoping to get fuel across to the South West States are stranded in Lagos.
In the interim, the Government, however, urged the operators to utilise the Ogere Trailer Park and other parks outside the State to avoid further hardship for motorists on the road, assuring that all measures would be deployed to ensure quick resolution of the situation.
On his part,President of Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO),Mr Remi Ogungbemi said the present situation was worrisome as it is a time bomb waiting to explode if unchecked.
He appealed to the federal government to take a cue from the Lagos State government and collaborate to resolve the crisis as soon as possible.