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Ports: FG, Lagos Set Up New Joint Task Force to Address Apapa Gridlock

Apapa’s notorious gridlock

As Apapa local government seeks partnership with NIMASA on tackling logjam The federal government and the Lagos state government Wednesday set up a new Joint Security Task Force that will tackle the Apapa gridlock.
This was as the state government hinted of plans to enforce the 2012 Lagos Road Traffic Law.

The new move followed the current menace of tankers and trucks that have made traffic unbearable for residents and people doing business in Apapa. The decision to set up a Task Force was reached during a Security Council meeting held Wednesday and chaired by the state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode.

Among those who attended the meeting were Lagos Commissioner of Police, Mr. Imohimi Edgal: Commander of Ikeja Cantonment, Brig Gen. Elias Attu; Commander of NNS Beecroft, Commodore Murrice Ansa Eno, and Executive Secretary of the state Security Trust fund (LSSTF), Dr. Abdulrazaq Balogun.

The Lagos Police Commissioner, Edgal told newsmen at the end of the meeting that the task force will include representatives from the Nigeria Police, Nigeria Armed Forces, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).

He said the task force will start work immediately at Apapa to ensure sanity and check security risk in the area.
According to him, the plan is to ensure that the road leading to Apapa is not totally blocked to check criminals from taking the chance to attack people.

Edgal said, “We deliberated extensively on the Apapa gridlock. With immediate effect, the governor has approved the reconstitution of a joint task force to ensure that while the major problems that gave rise to that situation in the first instance are being tackled, we will ensure that we have a good semblance of decency on our roads. “We will ensure that we create a corridor for smaller vehicles and ensure that there is no complete blockade to free flow of traffic. We will also have plain cloth and uniformed security agencies ensuring that there is no crime in the axis due to the traffic gridlock.”

He assured that the task force will maintain regular patrol in the area to ensure traffic flow. He disclosed that about 35 notorious traffic robbers, mainly ex-convicts, who were arrested recently will soon be charged to court. Edgal also said robbery of residential areas has reduced because of community policing and community safety partnership strategy introduced by the Lagos Police Command.

He also disclosed that the Marine Police in the state have been provided with more boats to secure waterways in the riverine areas in the state. On the enforcement traffic laws, he disclosed that security agencies in Lagos have been given orders to check any breakdown of traffic rules. “We have the Lagos State Traffic Law and it is our responsibility to enforce the law. Motorists, motorcyclists and other form of road users must obey the law. Our men have been mandated to enforce all aspects of the law not only prohibition along some routes but also those aspects that have to do with safety”, he said.

Meanwhile, the Apapa Local Government Chairman, Honourable Adele Owolabi has sought partnership with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in order to find a lasting solution to the Apapa gridlock. The Chairman while on a courtesy visit to the Agency bemoaned the danger the situation poses to the citizenry of the Apapa community and indeed the Nigerian economy, noting that it requires urgent action, which can only be achieved through collaboration amongst all Stakeholders within the Apapa Local Government Area of Lagos State.

Speaking further, he stated that the traffic gridlock also poses security and environmental challenges, which require concerted efforts in order to forestall break down of law and order. “Before now, Apapa used to be a beehive of economic activities and one of the highest revenue generating Local Government Area in Lagos and a place where people engage in all forms of recreational activities. Today, the reverse is now the case as so many industries have relocated from the area, thereby crippling economic activities and in turn low revenue generation”, the Chairman said.

Hon. Adele also appealed to the NIMASA Executive Management to partner with them in order to restore sanity to the Apapa Local Government Area of Lagos State, so that economic activities will be restored and unhindered.
Accordingly, he stated that presently various committees have been set up to look into the immediate solution to the challenges identified and that the Agency will be duly informed of the outcome, so that NIMASA can assist.
Also concerned with the spate of criminality in the Apapa axis which mostly involves the youths, he requested for the Agency’s assistance in the area of capacity building so as to engage them in meaningful trades that will deter them from criminalities.

In his response, the Director General of NIMASA Dr. Dakuku Peterside averred that services to the community bring development to the populace, hence the need for continuous partnership with our host communities.
The DG who was represented by the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mr. Bashir Jamoh noted that the traffic situation in Apapa was a situation of concern to all parties, because of the security threat it poses.
“The solution to the Apapa gridlock is above the Local Government and NIMASA, it is a national issue which needs the urgent attention of the Federal Government and all stakeholders in the sector. On the immediate, we can be talking about a short-term solution, but on the long run we must have medium and long-term plans on how to tackle the situation”, he said.

He further assured the Local Government Chairman and his team of the continuous support of NIMASA to any development that will help resolve the traffic challenge in Apapa, noting however that the Federal Government is doing its best to finding a lasting solution to the persistent traffic situation.

He also added that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s led Federal Government was not resting on its oars to fulfill its election mandate of transforming the economy and making life more comfortable for the Nigerian people.