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Container owners laud task team for restoring order in Apapa

Container owners operating within and around the nation’s premier ports in Apapa, Lagos, have lauded the presidential task team set up to restore order in Apapa.

The trucks owners have also faulted allegations of sharp practices levelled against the presidential task team in some quarters, saying rather, the team has done well, restoring sanity and orderliness around Apapa, as motorists can now enter and exit the ports environment with ease.

Olalaye Thompson, chairman of Amalgamated Container Trucks Owners, who stated this while talking to newsmen, commended the intervention of the presidential task team, under the supervision of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

According to Thompson, prior to the intervention of the presidential task team, they paid as much as N150,000 or more to access the port.

He explained that corrupt practices under the previous joint taskforce led by the Nigerian Navy were responsible for the persistent gridlock in the axis.

“The way the previous joint taskforce operated was alien to the whole system, when it is 9 to 10 in the morning, they stopped truck from crossing until the 8pm in the evening and during the period of the stoppage, and the gridlock would have built up. People were then forced to bribe their way to the port. Then it became the highest bidder show.

The drivers were then forced to bid for the amount they can afford to pass. Somebody can offer N100,000 while another one can offer N120,000 or more,” he said.

Giving more insight into what the present task team has done, Thompson said businesses and residents of Apapa are better off today.

He added that most Nigerians, especially commuters within Apapa would readily testify to the fact that the presidential task team has done a good job since it began its operation.

According to the truck owners, the era of bribing security personnel and touts to access the ports has gone for good, saying only those who have genuine document now have access to the ports.

“I am saying this with all sense of responsibility. As the leader of the truck owners, if anyone is paying money to access the ports now, there is no way I will not know.

Our members must have come to tell that there is no different between the presidential task team and other previous taskforce in the area.

Under the previous joint taskforce led by the Nigerian Navy, a lot of blunder was perpetrated. People paid as much as N150,000 and N200,000 before they could cross.

At Ijora-Olopa, a truck driver, who identified himself as Adamu, told BusinessDay that they were not being forced to pay money to access Apapa, but added that he wanted to see the current improvement on accessibility of the ports sustained.

“They should help us to make sure that the roads and bridges continue to be free,” said Adamu.

 

JOSHUA BASSEY

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