The Military and Lagos State Government (LASG) yesterday gave a 24-hour ultimatum to all tanker drivers to vacate the Apapa Bridge.The resolution was reached during a one-day stakeholders' meeting at the Navy Base in Apapa, which comprised the military, Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), LASG, Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).
Others, who attended the meeting, include the police, Dangote, Apapa Residents Association, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Apapa Government Reserved Area Resident Association, among others.
The Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Sylvanus Abbah, who was the convener of the meeting, appealed to the tanker drivers to leave the bridge due to national interest.
According to him, terrorists might take the advantage of the traffic situation to strike in Lagos and this has to be prevented from happening."Costain is going to be the turning point of the trucks. After 48 hours, no truck will pack on the bridge because of the national interest and I hope you will all take the decision of this meeting," he said.He said that some of the trucks had been packed 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 the major stakeholders, including NUPENG, to further address the traffic situation."All major stakeholders, most especially the shipping lines, will be in the committee and if I have my way, the Apapa Local Council Chairman will spearhead the committee," he said.
Also, the NPA Traffic Manager, Mr. Ogini Victor, who represented the Port Manager, Mrs. Aisha Ali-Ibrahim, 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 holding bays and we will make sure our men give us report on how many trucks park at the bay daily," he said.
The representative of NUPENG, Adekunle Adelaja, while reacting to the directive, said 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 all and sundry.
"We need to have another meeting and call all the tank farm owners. 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.The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Mr. Taiwo Salau, underscored the need for 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.