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Apapa resident’s, others decry invasion by monster trucks

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Container-laden trailers parked at Kirikiri Road.

There seems to be no end in sight to frustrations faced by residents of Apapa and environs, as trailers and tankers continue to restrict human and vehicular movement.

The drivers of these long vehicles have made it almost impossible for the residents to ply the roads. Sometimes, people have to walk lengthy distances either because the roads have been blocked by broken down or indiscriminately parked trailers.

Parts of the poorly maintained roads have already collapsed due to the weight of the monsters.

For instance, the stretch from Sunrise, Westminster and Warehouse to Coconut Bus Stop and further down to Apapa has become unusable.

Road users have to take alternative routes like Idewu, Wilmer Crescent, Achakpo, Kirikiri, Mba, Ojo, Uzor to reach their destinations.

But the respite was short-lived, as tanker and trailer drivers also helped themselves to the relief. As a result, the narrow routes that snake through these residential areas have become commuters’ hell, dirty and unsafe.

Judith, a resident of Wilmer Crescent, complained about the troubles she has faced since the trucks began their reign of terror. “These vehicles are constantly parked in front of my building. I find it hard to drive out because they block the entrance.

Even when the driver is reasonable enough and leaves a little space, in most cases a stubborn and impatient driver would have blocked the other lane.

Most days, I walk a distance to pick a bike because bikes and tricycles cannot conveniently come through. This is not funny at all.
    
The menace is also taking its toll on shop owners. Mr. Ogbonanya John, a trader at Idewu Street, said: “This new trend of tankers and trailer drivers parking on the streets is affecting us seriously. Business has been very slow.

All this started June, last year, but they (trailers) always left after a while. They were not here in December and we were happy. But by March, they came back in full force, and took over our street.

Sometimes, a trailer would be parked on a spot for three days. And there’s no business for us throughout that period.
  
John described the drivers as “very stubborn and impatient”. According to him, “After parking on one side of the street and blocking off houses and shops, other drivers would still go ahead and take up the space on the opposite side.

When this happens, it becomes impossible to enter or leave the street.

Even trekking becomes a problem because you risk being knocked down by a motorcyclist trying to manoeuvre past the vehicles. The environment is also always very dirty. It is quite difficult to clean where a trailer is parked.”
  
The vehicles also destroy properties. “I get calls at odd hours of the night that the trampoline extension in my shop has been destroyed by a moving trailer.

This happens a lot because the vehicles are high and the drivers are constantly on top speed. I am tired of making repairs, especially when business is not what it used to be,” John added.
  
There have also been cases of accidents due to the recklessness of the drivers. According to Mr. Sunday Nwosu, who lives at Kirikiri Road, “Since these vehicles started parking on our street, there have been a lot of accidents and disruptions to movement.

Just some days ago, a tanker broke a man’s leg. They often think they are on the highway and can move without care for human life.

The number of people who hawk on the streets has reduced because movement is hard when the road is blocked. Besides, how many people would even be able to see you when the trailers have blocked people’s views.”

Given that the streets are residential, they are bound to have schools. But school children and trailer drivers are not a good mix, safety wise.

Mr. Ohanu, the Principal of Real Brain Point School at Wilmer Crescent noted: “The activities of tankers and trailers on this street is really distressing.

Sometimes, they park so close to one other; it becomes difficult for the children to move freely. Parents, who cannot find a place to park, have to walk a distance while bringing their children to school.

Opting for a tricycle or motorbike is still a challenge when these trailers decide to be unreasonable and block both sides of the street.
   
“We have had accidents involving our students and these trailers. That is the reason we have planned to put up a Zebra crossing.

When that is done, they will, at least, not park so close to one other in front of the school. They will also be mindful of children coming out of the premises. This is supposed to be a street but we have been reduced to taking precautions as if this is a highway.”
  
The drivers, however, think they are merely victims of circumstances. One of them, Mr. Titilayo Kabiru, who parked at Wilmer Crescent for five days, said the expressway is bad, hence the drivers’ search for alternative routes.

He said: “I have been driving for six years. But this is my first having to pass through an inner street to connect Apapa port. I have offloaded, and am on my way to drop the empty container.

But I have been in this spot since Thursday because the line is not moving. It is not just because the road is bad; some drivers collude with the police. And for a N10,000 fee, they are moved up the line. This ends up blocking the road completely and making the line stagnant.”
  
On accusations that the drivers block people’s houses and litter the surroundings, he replied: “It is not our fault; we are also victims.

If the government repairs the road, we would not have to park on the streets and block people’s views, shops and entrances. The residents should understand this.”


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