There appears to be no end to the reign of terror being unleashed on motorists and residents of Apapa area of Lagos by truck drivers who have invaded the area with their trucks. Like an occupation army, they have taken over and paralysed economic activities in the entire area. The harrowing experience other road users have been subjected to could be better imagined than experienced.
Various measures adopted by the Lagos State Government to clear the trucks off the roads in the area have failed. Former Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola deployed taskforce to the area several times to flush out the trucks. The efforts were unsuccessful as the dislodged drivers returned with their trucks in full force. Now the new Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has visited the congested area and set up a task force to rid the area of the trucks, yet the drivers appear unyielding.
The gridlock would persist as long as the stakeholders such as tank farm owners, truck owners and the drivers refuse to apply commonsense and wisdom to ensure that sanity prevails. The truck park in Apapa Governor Ambode spoke about during his assessment tour and subsequent meeting with the stakeholders should be expanded quickly to accommodate more trucks. A situation where over 1,000 trucks enter Lagos daily to lift petroleum products to various parts of the country is a clear invitation to traffic chaos as being witnessed today in Apapa.
Another solution to the gridlock is the relocation of the tank farms in Apapa to the outskirts of the city. It is a sure-fire way to decongest the Oshodi-Apapa expressway and the Ijora axis. Besides, it is dangerous to locate tank farms in densely populated area.
It is an understatement to say businesses are collapsing while others are relocating to other parts of the state due to the traffic jam that is also causing huge loss of man-hours daily. The economy of Lagos State and that of the country would continue to be adversely affected if the trucks remain on those roads. No society would allow this kind of madness to continue for so long.
Whatever it would take Governor Ambode to remove the trucks from the area, he should do it. And, since it is a federal road and the presence of the trucks is hurting economic activities at the country’s major ports in Apapa, the Federal Government should also intervene and bring an end to the trauma motorists and residents are facing.