Apapa: Truckers say traffic control method obsolete, seek automated system
…Implore govt to adopt their proposed technique to free Apapa
Truckers under the aegis of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) have described the system of using security taskforce to control traffic in Apapa metropolis as obsolete, as it creates opportunity for compromise as well as extortion.
According to them, there is need to develop an electronic system that is devoid of human interference, if Nigeria want to eliminate traffic congestion in Apapa Port area.
Remi Ogungbemi, chairman of AMATO, who stated that Apapa bridges have become market places while check points become tollgates, said the system presently being used to administer trucks into terminals, factories and jetties in Apapa has become obsolete and there is need for a change.
He however stated that it was sad that many people are benefiting from the chaotic system, which has become bread and butter for many.
“Some people have grouped themselves into a cabal, and if you are not a member of that cabal, your trucks would not be allowed to go. Every morning and night, monies exchange hands but the money cannot be seen physically because they are very smart in doing it, and if you are not a member of that caucus, your trucks cannot go,” he said in a phone interview.
Ogungbemi, who stated that the Presidential Task Team overseeing traffic control in Apapa has over stayed their usefulness, said that it is unfortunate that the only solution that government has is to set up committee that members would come and see the problem as an opportunity to enrich themselves.
Stating that truckers want government to invite technocrats to come up with a creative idea to serve as a technique for addressing Apapa problem, he disclosed that truckers have come up with their own solution, which has been demonstrated to its members, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports as well as LASTMA headquarters.
“The system we have developed is so transparent to the extent that before any truck would leave the private park where it is stationed, the trucker must receive message alert on his WhatsApp telling him that it is his turn to go into the port even the security operatives on the road would also have same message on their phones so that they can be able to identify trucks that are coming into the port,” he explained.
Continuing, Ogungbemi said that “We also designed an electronic and hardcopy checklist that would enable traffic managers to identify the trucks and have all the information about where the truck is going and when it supposed to go. This checklist would be made available to the police on the road, terminal operators, and shipping companies.”
In addition to this, he said, the hardcopy of the checklist would also be printed and pasted in strategic places for people to relate with. “This would be used by all the trucks including Flour Mill, Dangote, container trucks and petroleum tankers, and it would compel them to leave the roads and bridges to their private parks but our fear is that 90 percent of the people benefiting from the problem on Apapa road would not like a change.”
He however noted that if government adopts their proposal that it can be handed over to a specialist to administer even as he pointed out that the NPA as the technical regulator for the port can be made to implement the new system.