THE excruciating traffic gridlock that has held the Apapa axis of the Lagos metropolis by the jugular for more than 10 years, has routinely been treated to endless promises by successive Federal and Lagos State governments with very little real action to resolve the problem conclusively.
The gridlock developed as a result of years of neglect of the road and rail networks within the zone which completely broke down while the quantum of trailers, tankers and trucks coming to evacuate goods and petroleum products continued to increase at geometric scale.
The total reconstruction of the Tin Can Island to Cele Bus-stop end of the Apapa–Oshodi Expressway did not provide the expected relief because the invading heavy duty vehicles from all corners of the country simply blocked everywhere, making livelihood and business activities nightmarish.
A former governor of Lagos State, Mr Babatunde Fashola who is now the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, promised in September 2016 that the 2017 budget would be used to complete the 800-capacity trailer park in Tin Can Island. Though Fashola blamed the regime of former President Goodluck Jonathan for failure to complete the project, another 19 months has passed since his own promise which has gone unfulfilled.
On Tuesday, April 17, 2018, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, while addressing a Town Hall Meeting in Apapa, also promised to take over the construction of the 3,000-capacity Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu Truck Terminal in Orile-Iganmu to enable the heavy duty vehicles vacate the roads and bridges which they have colonised to the great discomfort of Lagos commuters.
We call on the Federal and Lagos State governments to put action behind their words and end this hellish situation. It is a major national imperative because much of the non-oil revenues of the federation and Lagos State comes from the Apapa Business District. Besides the suffering and lawlessness that this gridlock imposes on Apapa and its surroundings, the deadweight occupation of bridges and roads by these trucks is rapidly depreciating the bridges and even the portion of the Oshodi – Apapa Expressway reconstructed just a few years ago.
It is also inviting a lot of dangerous elements who come to these gridlocks to rob and dispossess trapped and helpless road users. There is very little that the law-enforcement agents sent to control the chaotic situation can achieve unless convenient holding bays are created to enable the trucks vacate the roads and bridges.
We urge the Federal and Lagos State governments to quickly complete these truck parks and restore civilised road use, thriving economy and effective government presence back to Apapa and environs. Since both tiers of government belong to the same ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, they should find collaboration easy to end this nightmare.