It’s fresh breath of relief for residents and motorists plying the Apapa corridor, with the take-off of electronic call-up system in the Lagos seaports, last weekend.
Major access roads into the Apapa corridor are now substantially free of traffic congestion. Throughout business hours on Monday, there was free passage of vehicles in and out of the area.
Truckers are not left out in the euphoria. They gently filed into the seaports without any hindrance. The ever-busy Wharf road, leading to Apapa Port was vacated by deviant trucks that used to clog the gate.
Sanity was observed to be gradually returning to the Apapa corridor; thanks to the innovative approach initiated by the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) and the Lagos State Government.
A trucker, Usman Musa, welcomed the development, saying the electronic solution had brought an end to years of agony he had faced on the route. It’s a new lease of life for truck operations around the seaports, he stated.
“If anyone had told me there would be a time when traffic at Marine Beach would flow freely as being seen today (Monday), I would contest it. The last four years were agonising for most of us working in this area. I used to spend three hours for 15 minutes journey,” Musa said.
Following the launch of the e-Call Up platform and traffic enforcement in Apapa by joint Taskforce teams raised by the Lagos Government and NPA, bottlenecks contrived by law enforcement agencies and port officials were dismantled and trucks had cleared off the routes, resulting in free movement of traffic in Apapa.
Applauding the progress recorded, Musa said: “We support the action of the Government in solving this problem and we have started to comply with the order that prohibits parking our trailers on the highways.”
A transporter, Ismail Olaitan, admitted that the innovation introduced had reorganised the chaotic operation of trucks around the seaports, praising Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Managing Director of NPA, Mrs. Hadiza Bala Usman, for displaying strong will in enforcing the change.
He said: “We are happy with this development. When the electronic call-up system was launched at the weekend, most of our colleagues took their trucks off the roads and moved into Lilypond Terminal in compliance. This new system will bring about positive impacts on our business, and this is why we are embracing it with joy. The old system had only brought us pain and sorrow.”
A property owner, Aloysius Oriakwu, was full of praise for the State Government for the enforcement of the traffic along the corridor. He said businesses using his property as office space left at the height of perennial congestion that turned Apapa into a no-go area.
“I can now put my property up for rent again after four years. I support the initiative introduced by the Government and this must be sustained to prevent recurrence of the congestion,” Oriakwu said.
A truck owner, Isiaka Mahmud, also expressed excitement with the launch of the e-Call Up Initiative, saying the innovation would address corruption in loading schedule at the ports.
To consolidate on the progress recorded in Apapa following the launch of the e-Call Up system, the State Government’s Taskforce team, led by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Hon. Toyin Fayinka, relocated to the area on Monday to enforce the traffic regulations.
Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, dismantled all checkpoints mounted by the police along Apapa corridor from Surulere into the seaports.
According to the police boss, the checkpoints were part of the factors creating traffic along the the Apapa corridor. Odumosu warned that dire consequence awaits any officer who returns on the Apapa routes to create unapproved beat.
Odumosu, however, allowed a checkpoint in front of Sifax Depot for enforcement purpose only by men of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA).
While the development had been roundly hailed by residents and business operators, some man-made obstructions were yet to be addressed in the initiative.
Access into some of the approved parking lots created for trucks were still being obstructed by illegal structures and trading activities, making it difficult for trucks to move into the parks.
Although, the State Government’s Taskforce removed most of the illegal structures before the take-off of the e-Call Up system, but some of the occupants were yet to leave.
The Taskforce ordered the complete removal of illegal structures blocking the pathway in the trailer parks.
Fayinka said: “Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is determined to get rid of the induced traffic congestion in Apapa. We started the enforcement last weekend and everyone can see that sanity is returning to Apapa. We will at stop nothing to ensure there is free flow of traffic on this corridor. Therefore, enforcement will be continuous.
“The Lilypond Truck Terminal being operated by TTP is gradually getting ready. There are few impediments that are preventing full utilisation of the facility. As part of the enforcement team, the police led by the Commissioner had read the riot acts to those involved. We have given the owners of the illegal structures a notice to vacate the area by next Saturday. Should they refuse, the Taskforce will do the needle.”