Following the Federal Government’s 7-day ultimatum for truck drivers to move their trucks off the Apapa- Wharf road, truckers are pleading with the government to provide truck holding bays to enable them move their trucks from the roads.
The Chairman of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) Chief Remi Ogungbemi made this plea when he spoke to MMS Plus about truckers’ challenges with the Apapa Port access road restructuring.
Although the AMATO boss commended the Federal Government for finally remembering to fix the port road, he queried the government for the lack of truck holding bays which led truckers to parking trucks on the port roads.
“It is important for truck drivers to leave the road, we envisaged this earlier so we started calling for holding bays but the question is where will these trucks go? The parking spaces in the ports’ original plan have been hijacked. We requested earlier that the Federal Government should provide a space for holding bays or truck terminals because we don’t have the power, land or resources to create a trucking bay”, Chief Remi said.
“We should understand that owners of these trucks come from different parts of the country (North, East, South and West). Luckily, we have discovered a place less than two kilometers to the ports that can accommodate over one thousand trucks in Lagos here, all we need is government support. Without government’s intervention, there is nothing we can do” he added.
However, after a recent maritime stakeholders meeting on the Apapa road reconstruction, the Federal Government could only show uncoordinated plans in the reconstruction and residents may experience more hardship as a result.
The meeting which lasted for hours was characterized with contradictory positions among the stakeholders which obviously attest to the unpreparedness and poor planning contrary to Federal Government’s position earlier on the readiness to kick-start work on the road.
The meeting ended without any concrete resolution and the communiqué of the meeting was greeted with objections and disagreements that the moderator Engr. Godwin Eke, Federal Controller Works, Lagos had to diplomatically put the meeting to an abrupt end having observed that different boiling questions were springing up.
The General Manager, Lagos State Traffic Maintenance Agency’s, Mr. Wale Musa had given the conditions with which they can support the project while emphasizing their readiness to defend the interest of the masses “we have to be sure that maximum security is guaranteed before we can do anything. The Police, Navy and other security agencies have to be involved because of our previous experiences on their habit of aiding the truck drivers in flouting traffic rules”
In his reaction, the Apapa Divisional Police Officer, representing the Area command at the meeting assured maximum security while citing the relative peace currently in Apapa as proof.
Meanwhile, the representative of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Assistant Commandant Gardo Esua, vowed to deal mercilessly with erring road users “we are ready to be civil with them if they cooperate with us but if they turn back we may have no option than to use moderate force.”