The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) yesterday identified the shutdown of Lilypond truck park, corruption among those controlling traffic as factors fuelling the return of traffic to the port access road.
Speaking yesterday at the stakeholders meeting to find a lasting solution to the Apapa gridlock organised the Nigerian Shippers Council, the executive secretary of the council, Barr. Hassan Bello said there is need to put the lilypond truck pack back into use.
Bello who was represented by the Director, Consumer Services, Cajetan Agu said the Presidential Task Team (PTT) should liaise with the Lagos state government on creation of mobile court to persecute those seeking bribes from truck drivers.
He said, “We should liaise with the Lagos state government to give us mobile court for anyone seeking bribes so that anyone found guilty should be jail to put an end to the bribery. Bribery is done in the open and none is complying with the system so, we need to enforce compliance.”
“Reasons, why truck drivers are involved in mal practices is because there is no efficient system to punish them for wrong acts.”
The shippers Council’s boss also said that trucks must be compelled to use the designated truck parks and adhere to the call up system even as he called for efficiency of terminal operators to handle trucks released.
His words, “Some truck owners don’t have garages. We must go back to the designated 48 parks for truck drivers to go for call up. Also, the efficiency of terminal operators must be looked into. For instance, if 50 trucks are released to a terminal and they don’t have capacity to handle up to that, there will be problem.”
He also stated that there is need for inter-agency cooperation among different agencies of government at the seaport.
According to him, government agencies are independent of each other making it difficult for coordination.
“Government agencies at the port must be talking to each other, we must not continue working in isolation so as to have an efficient traffic control mechanism.”
Speaking earlier, the Vice Chairman, Presidential Task team on Apapa gridlock, Kayode Opeifa had raised alarm that some residents in Apapa who have properties close to the waterfronts are now converting them to truck terminals with the approval of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
Opeifa said it is illegal for property owners to convert residential buildings to truck parks without the approval of the Lagos State Government.
He said, “Some residents of Apapa have converted their properties to terminals without any approval from the Lagos State Government. When we approached them, they said they have NPA approval but I told them it is illegal for them to operate without Lagos State approval. If you go to creek road, there are residents that are taking 100 trucks.
“They brought in 200 containers, truck drivers and their motor boys hanging at the jetties without considering safety of our waterways. We have two properties on creek road now operating in barge operations.
“As far as Lagos State is concerned, if you have any license from anywhere, it is an illegal license because the property was not registered for that purpose.
“The trucks eventually come out by road, so there was nobody accounting for that. We just see that trucks in Lilypond could not approach the port because they are being given access into the port. Whoever believed in water transportation has to be done properly otherwise it will become the next mess inside the port environs.”
Opeifa, who although claimed that there is no gridlock in Apapa as presently being portrayed by the media, disclosed that the Lagos State Government has approved the deployment of 200 LASTMA officials to sustain the sanity enjoyed in Apapa towards the last quarter of last year.
He said the mandate of the task force was not to solve the gridlock but to ensure that there are no trucks on the bridge noting that without an effective truck call up system, it will be difficult to achieve sanity on the port access road.
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