The Presidential Task Team on Apapa gridlock says it now allows only 10 trucks released from Lilypond Container Terminal, at a time, as part of the strategies to reduce tackle congestion on the road/bridge in-bound Apapa, Nigeria’s premier port city.
Gridlocks around Apapa have remained a recurring decimal and a source of concern to businesses and residents, who continue to lament their losses occasioned by daily congestion in and around Apapa.
The enforcement arm of the task team is coordinator by Bayo Sulaiman, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), who worked with Hakeem Odumosu, who headed the enforcement arm of the team, until his recent appointment as Commissioner of Police (CP) in charge of the Lagos command.
Sulaiman, who was cornered by our reporter, within Apapa, and promptly invited to give BusinessDay some insights into how the task team is tackling the gridlocks, said there is serious restriction on the number of that must leave at a time.
“We now allow trucks to move out of Lilypond in batches of 10 at a time,” said Sulaiman, adding that petroleum tankers and containerised trucks are also no longer allowed to make their way to Apapa in the hours of the day until 10:am.
“The idea is to reduce the number trucks on the bridge and ensure that those on the bridge are not stationary. Too many trucks could result in them staying stationary on the bridge and causing heavy gridlock.
We don’t also allow them to begin driving into Apapa until it is 10:am. This is to make sure that the road is free for people going into Apapa . From 10:am to 4:pm, we stop them in order to allow people closing from their offices to exit Apapa. That’s the strategy we have adopted,” said Sulaiman.
He explained that the difficulty being currently experienced by motorists and commuters exiting Apapa, resulting to the hiccups at Mobil Road/ Marine Beach junction, is because of the closure of the out-bound lane of Apapa-Ijora Bridge for repair works, describing it as temporary.
“Once the contractors are done with the repair works and the bridge re-opened, the bottleneck at Mobil Road/Marine Beach will ease off because motorist would have started using the bridge to exit Apapa,” said Sulaiman, who assured of deploying more men to assist in managing the situation at Marine Beach.
He, however, explained that it was impossible not to have trucks coming into Apapa, given that the tank farms and Nigeria’s two major ports are located within that axis, but assured that the presidential team will continue to deploy strategy to keep traffic flowing by ensuring that the trucks do not remain permanently on the road/bridge.
“Trucks cannot drive into Apapa until it is 10am because we want people to come into their offices.
However, there will be trucks on the road because they’re headed to the tank farms and the ports to lift fuel and goods out of the ports. Those going to Folawiyo, we don’t release them enmass. We release five trucks at a time. That’s why in the last 10 to 12 days, the roads have been free. In the past, they have been stationary on the bridge. We can only plead with the contractors working on the bridge to hasten the job, to allow people move out of Apapa freely,” said Sulaiman.