Wednesday, July 30, 2014 9:32 am
Lagos – Nigeria’s Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro has urged the government of Babatunde Raji Fashola to build permanent holding bay for trucks and tankers to park, to ease the logjam in the Apapa-Wharf area of Lagos, the nation’s commercial city.
This comes a few days after the Lagos state governor’s visit to the area, decrying the insensitivity of the Federal government to the plight of ‘Lagosians’ due to the prolonged traffic situation at the busy Apapa-Wharf Road.
“There is need for the state to have a permanent holding bay for trucks.
“It is when that is provided that there can be a radio link between the port and the bay, so that whenever the port is ready to have them, a radio message would be passed across to indicate and the affected trucks can go into Apapa.
Obanikoro said a 500-truck capacity park being constructed by the Federal Government at Tincan Island would also serve as a holding bay.
“The park at Tincan Island is still under construction. That is why you did not see trucks there.
“We will do everything possible to complete it in the shortest time possible but have it in mind that that is not a permanent holding bay.
Obanikoro also revealed plans by the Federal Government to relocate tank farms from the Apapa Wharf area in Nigeria’s commercial capital, citing security implications as the reason behind the move.
“We need to do it as quickly as possible. I believe that Lagos State Government would act fast.
“There are plans and we are also working with all the stakeholders to ensure that the area is kept under check.
“It is not easy to close all these things overnight but what is important is to call for more vigilance on the part of the operators.
“Let me assure that all the security agencies in the country are well alert to what is at stake and everything humanly possible is being done to curtail such misfortune.
“For sometimes now, we have been looking at the security implication of allowing trailers and trucks to use the road as parks rather than for movement.
“With the activities of Boko Haram and other elements, we believe strongly that people may want to negatively take advantage of the chaotic situation around the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA).
“I am happy that the Nigerian Navy (NN) moved in and so far, all the standing trucks have been moved and passage way have been created to ensure smooth vehicular movement in the area.
“This has eliminated the security threat of having trucks and containers littering the entire area.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) WNC, Rear Admiral Sanmi Alade, said it took the navy about four days to achieve sanity after flagging off the operation to clear the congestion.
He said: “For now, we are still on the road. The operation is still active and until we call it off, naval personnel will remain on the road.
“We have faced challenges such as logistics, which we are trying to cope with.
“Getting the stakeholders together to key into the process was also a challenge but most of them have realised the need to work with us on this,” he said.
Governor Fashola had addressed media men during his last visit to the Apapa area, his third in a row, stating that the Federal Government agencies could take steps save road users in the business area further discomfort.
“If the NNPC, for example, pumps fuel to Mosinmi and Ibadan this place will de-congest. So why are they not doing that?”
Fashola also promised to continue to engage the problem with other groups directly involved.