Apapa congestion: Truck owners fault planned re-introduction of task force 

By Sulaimon Salau |   01 January 2021   |   8:15 am  

Apapa Wharf

The Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) has suggested a possible solution to the problem of protracted traffic on Apapa roads, which has posed challenges to maritime activities.
President, AMATO, Remi Odugbemi, in a chat with The Guardian, likened the planned reintroduction of a task force on the port access road to putting old wine in a new bottle.
He said: “Constituting a new task force is not and cannot be the permanent solution. It would be like setting fire to the bush; all the animals in the bush will start running helter-skelter. When the grass starts growing, the animals will definitely come back.
“Re-introducing task force is a waste of manpower and resources that could have been used to provide other basic amenities for the populace. Even the 200 security personnel planned by the government could be deployed to other areas of security need such as Boko Haram and kidnapping,” he said.
For the trucks to permanently leave the roads and bridges, the group suggested that the government should put in place an automation device that would regulate/control the movement of every truck and petroleum tanker, including vehicles going to the factories around Apapa/Tincan.
The group also wants the government to issue a public notice directing all trucks and petroleum tankers to leave the roads for individual private parks and garages, as measures are already in place to start regulating their movement seamlessly.
Odugbemi noted that recycling of old taskforce teams that mismanaged traffic problems in Apapa/Tincan road axis for selfish interest would only revert to days of bribery and extortion of truckers.
“In the face of apparent failure by the Presidential Taskforce Team (PTT) to resolve the chaotic traffic problem in Apapa/Tincan road axis, it is disheartening for government to come up with another idea of inaugurating a taskforce team comprising of the same set of people that compounded the gridlock through unlawful extortion of truckers, operation of multiple illegal checkpoints, and legitimisation of hoodlum harassment, intimidation and violent attack of truckers,” he stated.
He said human interference is the main reason the gridlock has persisted in Apapa/Tincan.
He, however, queried: “Why does the government prefer the use of a task force as a solution to the traffic Challenge rather than using technology?
“Does it mean that it is true that some people at the helm of affairs are benefiting from extortion and bribery hence they prefer task force to automation?
“How are we sure that is not the same cabals that have been extorting, terrorising, humiliating other truckers and prioritizing their interests that are behind the new plan?”   

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