A 48-hour ultimatum has been issued to all truck drivers to vacate Lagos bridges by the Lagos State Government and the Nigerian military.
The directive was as a result of continuous parking of trucks on bridges, which has turned to a national disaster in the waiting if not stopped.
The resolution was reached at a one-day stakeholders meeting held in Lagos yesterday at the instance of the Western Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy.
Those in attendance include representatives of the Nigerian Navy, the Army, the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), LASG, Nigerian Union Petroleum Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Apapa GRA Residents Association (AGRA), tank farm operators, Dangote and officials of the Apapa Local Government Area.
The Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Sylvanus Abbah noted that “considering the security situation in the country, terrorist could cash in on the gridlock to unleash terror in the state”
The FOC who is the convener of the meeting, appealed to the tanker drivers to leave the bridge due to national interest.
He said terrorists might take advantage of the traffic situation to strike in Lagos at the slightest of opportunity, stressing that it has to be prevented from happening.
He said: “Costain is going to be the turning point of the trucks. After 48 hours, no truck will be allowed to park on the bridge because of national interest and I hope you will all take the decision of this meeting.”
He said that some of the trucks had been parked on the bridge for weeks, adding that the bridge might collapse which would be an additional problem.
Abbah said a committee would also be set up which would involve all major stakeholders including NUPENG to further address the traffic situation.
According to him, “All major stakeholders most especially the shipping lines will be in the committee and if I have my way, the Apapa Local Government Chairman would spearhead the committee. The shipping companies and terminal operators must have a holding bay for their trucks.”
The NPA Traffic Manager, Mr Ogini Victor, who represented the Port Manager, Mrs Aisha Ali-Ibrahim in the meeting, said that the Apapa Gridlock had become a barber’s chair that was rotating and not moving anywhere.
“Synergy is the keyword that can solve the problem of the gridlock. “We have also decided that all empty containers should go to holden bays and we will make sure our men gives us report on how many trucks park at the bay daily,” he said.
Comrade Adekunle Adelaja, on behalf of NUPENG, requested for more time for drivers to comply with the ultimatum, though he admitted that the union does not support tankers parking on the bridge.
He enjoined everyone to find a lasting solution to the menace as it was affecting everyone.
“We need to have another meeting and call all the farm tankers. Let us see how we can be able to do the programming that trucks will just go to the depot without parking on the bridge,” he said.
In his reaction, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Mr Taiwo Salau, said that there should be good synergy among security agencies to resolve the traffic situation.
“There should be synergy among security agencies so that these areas can be cleaned up and have a checkpoint before the long bridge,” he said.