…dismantles military checkpoints
- LASTMA takes charge of traffic mgt
The Presidency has ordered the immediate clearing of the gridlock at the Apapa port area. Truck operators have been given up to 72 hours to vacate bridges, roads and all adjoining streets leading into the port axis. Mr. Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in a statement yesterday, said the directive is to ensure the restoration of law and order at the port area within two weeks. According to the presidential aide, the Nigerian Navy and all other military formations have also been mandated to withdraw from traffic management duties in and around the Apapa axis, while military and paramilitary checkpoints in front of the ports and environs are to be dismantled. Akande said the Lagos State Transport Management Agency (LASTMA) has also been authorised to move into Apapa as the lead traffic management agency, while the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) is to commence the immediate use of the Lilypond Terminal and Trailer Park A as a truck transit park.
He said: “A Presidential directive has been issued for the immediate clearing up of the Apapa gridlock and the restoration of law and order to Apapa and its environs within two weeks. The directive mandates the immediate removal of all trucks from the bridges and roads within Apapa and all adjoining streets leading into the Apapa axis. “To facilitate this important assignment, operators of trucks and tankers have also been directed to vacate the Port Access Roads within the next 72 hours. “This directive follows an emergency meeting convened by President Muhammadu Buhari and chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on the 25th of April, 2019. The meeting proffered lasting solutions to the gridlock around the Lagos Ports, as the traffic congestion has continued to restrict all operations and livelihood in the area. “Consequently, a Presidential Taskforce, chaired by Vice President Osinbajo was established to restore law and order to the area within two weeks.
The Taskforce, which will report directly to the President, has included on its Terms of Reference the development of an efficient and effective management plan for the entire port area traffic, including the cargo, fuel distribution and business district traffic; enforcing the permanent removal of all stationary trucks on the highway, and the development of an effective manual truck callup system, pending the introduction of the electronic truck call-up system. “It also includes the implementation of a workable Empty Container Return and Export Container Truck Handling Policy, amongst others.”
He said the directive further mandates compliance by all security personnel and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), while heads of the NPC, Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, and all other security operatives are to ensure their officers’ adherence to the new directives.
Akande explained that the decision followed a meeting of key heads and representatives of relevant MDAs of government, including the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola; act-ing Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu; representative of the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibe-Enwo; Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Salaam Olufemi; and the Executive Director, Marine and Operations, NPA, Dr. Sokonte Davies, among others. Members of the taskforce include Mr. Kayode Opeifa, former Commissioner for Transport in Lagos State, as the Executive Vice Chairman; a representative of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC); NPA; and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC). Other members include a special unit of the Nigeria Police Force led by a Commissioner of Police, representatives of the Truck Transport Union, the Lagos State Government through the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), and other relevant MDAs.