Apapa gridlock: Reps ask FG to develop more ports

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TRACKING >>Worried by the intractable traffic congestion at Apapa, the House of Representatives yesterday urged the Federal Government to construct additional ports across the country in order to decongest the Apapa port.

The House also advised all stakeholders, especially the leadership of the Truck Owners /Drivers, to comply with the directives of the Presidential Taskforce in its efforts to ease the traffic gridlock on Apapa Expressway.

These decisions were taken after adopting a motion brought by Hon. Egberongbe Mufutau Adewale (APC, Lagos) lamenting the difficulties residents of Apapa go through as a result of the traffic gridlock caused by trailers.

While adopting the motion, the lawmakers also urged the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to re-introduce the electronic cargo tracking machines and modern scanners to ease cargo movement in the ports to decongest the Apapa Port.

They further requested the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to rejuvenate the domestic refineries, invest in new ones and relocate the Tank Farms from Apapa to other areas.

Similarly, the House urged the ministry of transportation to ensure that alternative means of transporting goods, such as railway and waterway, were given urgent attention to assist in the movement of goods in and out of the Port and ensure that palliative measures were carried out on the dilapidated road linking the Apapa/Oshodi Expressway and the Tin Can and Coconut axis.

While presenting the motion, Hon. Egberongbe noted that on Wednesday, 22 May, 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari set up a presidential taskforce to be chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN to resolve the traffic gridlock on the Lagos/Apapa Expressway.

He said the Presidential Taskforce, in collaboration with the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), the Nigeria Police Force, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the Truck Transport Union as well as other law enforcement agencies, commenced the removal of all trucks/trailers parked on the road.

The lawmaker disclosed that Apapa Port was designed to accommodate 33 million metric tons of goods per day, but currently, it is processing not less than 80 million metric tons which has overstretched its infrastructure, thereby resulting in an overarching traffic situation, leading to loss of valuables by motorists to armed robbers.

He acknowledged, “the fact that the Task Force is steadily clearing the gridlock by regulating the entry of trucks into the road and its environs, but fashioning a long term solution that would create an efficient and friendly management regime in the area that will pave way for economic activities to thrive, may take a longer time to achieve.

“I am concerned that in spite of the efforts being made by the Presidential Taskforce, truck drivers still park indiscriminately on the expressway, thereby undermining the laudable efforts of the government and adversely affecting the socio-economic activities of the area which does not have an alternative route for transporting goods from the ports to other parts of the country.

“Cognizant of the need for additional truck parks and parking bays in Lagos as well as the commencement of electronic call-up system that would ameliorate the hardship at the port area”, he stated.

He submitted that opening other seaports in Badagry and Lekki Free Trade Zone would help to decongest the ports in Lagos and re-introduction of electronic cargo tracking machines and modern scanners to track goods before arrival, will also help in achieving the desired results.”

After a lengthy debate by members, the motion was unanimously accepted when Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila put it to vote.