By Kingsley Adegboye
Disturbed by the persistent traffic congestion in Apapa and environs arising from indiscriminate parking of articulated vehicles and tankers on the highways and access roads within the port city, residents and business owners in Apapa at the weekend vowed to paralyse business activities in Apapa area if the government fails to do something to end the problem by the end of the 21-day ultimatum given by the residents and business owners.
Brigadier- General Shola Ayo Vaughan (retd), President, GRA Apapa Residents Association,who disclosed this during a protest by his members over indiscriminate parking of trucks and tankers on Apapa roads, said the residents and business owners within axis are prepared to block all entries within and out of Apapa when they embark on protest against this indiscriminate parking in the area by truck and tanker drivers, lamenting that the traffic gridlock had wrecked their businesses and denied them of good lives.
“As a result, we have issued a 21-day ultimatum to the state government to clear the area of the gridlock, and make movement in and out of the area easy for both residents and businesses or incur the wrath of the people”.
File: Gridlock as tankers shut down Apapa road.
He alleged that the government and its agencies in connivance with the shipping companies deliberately refused to implement policies meant to keep the trucks and containers off the road so as to force landlords, residents and business owners out of Apapa.
Vowing to shut down indefinitely all business activities within Apapa and environs if the government fails to comply with their demand, Vaughan said the government had been warned of the looming danger which is inevitable if this practice continues, pointing out that it is worthy to note that government officials and the managing directors and chief executive officers of companies, government parastatals operating in Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports do not reside in Apapa.
According to him, their movement to and from Apapa is by boats, hence they are insensitive to the traffic created by their inability to organise a good structural and orderly approach to the ports.
“The government agencies and shpping companies are very much aware of the situation but do not care because of the financial benefits they are deriving from this skewed disposition. This is the true position of what is happening around the Lagos ports.
“Shipping companies are feeding fat on unearned container deposit and dumurage, thereby using Nigeria as a storage facility for empty containers as the the cost is next to nothing. Terminal operators are having a field day in collecting crazy storage charges from importers by restricting trucks in the ports under the guise of no network. Truckers are having the party of their lives with rates hike from seventy Thousand Naira (N70,000 ) within Lagos”, he stated.
Vaughan who said Apapa gridlock is man made, and residents and business owners are pressed beyond measures to do something about it, noted that “In view of this predicament, we the residents and business owners in Apapa and Ajegunle and all well meaning Lagosians whose lives have been rendered miserable by this traffic situation hereby give the government a 21-day ultimatum to clear all our bridges and roads of all trucks. Enough is enough”.