Boko Haram: Navy moves into action at Apapa
The Nigerian Navy on Wednesday ordered all trucks and tankers parked on the bridges especially within Apapa axis to leave immediately saying terrorists could take advantage of it to carry out sinister attacks.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Sylvanus Abbah, who addressed Dockyard Road stakeholders on Apapa Traffic situation at the Officers Mess, Apapa, directed the NNS Beecroft Commander to evacuate them from the bridge as from Thursday.
“As from tomorrow, I don’t want to see any truck on the bridge. No vehicle will park on the bridge any more because of our national interest and I hope you will all take the decision of this meeting. Costain will be the turning point of all the vehicles going forward.”
The FOC explained that the parking of trucks on the bridge was worst to the extent that some of the drivers cook on those bridges and that further weakens the structure of the bridges.
For a couple of years now, Apapa is known for its perennial notoriety of gridlock which has practically brought down economic and human traffic as trailer drivers constituted nuisance by parking indiscriminately on the bridges and every available space.
Admiral Abbah reiterated that it wouldn’t business as usual as its command would do everything possible to assist to ensure that they work with all stakeholders to free Apapa of its traffic congestion.
“In Nigeria, we are going through so many trying times especially the fight against insurgents. Terrorists might strike and we must do he needful to check such from happening.
“Terrorist could explore such opportunity to strike. As from tomorrow (Thursday) I don’t want to see any truck on the bridge. Costain is going to be the turning point of the trucks.
“No vehicle will be parked on the bridge any more because of our National Interest and I hope you will all take the decision of the meeting.
Admiral Abbah, therefore appealed to all the stakeholders which included the NUPENG who always went on strike at the slightest opportunity to talk to its workers to obey the laws of the land saying that as “military men saddled with the responsibility of protecting critical infrastructure, we would not wait and allow things to deteriorate further.
“We would work with the Lagos State government to bring sanity to Lagos. The traffic has affected property owners in Apapa. Therefore, we must come out with proactive measures that would help the military and other stakeholders.
“In case of emergency, it will take us a minimum of two hours to get to Kirikiri Town. Are we going to watch and allow things to be like this? He quarried.
The FOC further added that, “we cannot afford to have people that are not law abiding. You cannot talk to them and when you do, they threaten with strike, Abbah reiterated.
However, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Transport, Dr Taiwo Olufemi said the Lagos State government was ready to work with all the stakeholders to check illegal parking on the bridge.
Describing Apapa traffic jam as “Barber’s Chair” added that they must clear the congestion no matter whose ox is gored.
He explained that Apapa which was built to take 30 metric tonnes is now operating at over 80 million metric tonnes noting that it was sad there was no rail to take out most of the containers.
“We must tell ourselves the truth, the shipping companies suppose to have their Holding Bail. If you go to Apapa now, you will weep for this nation. These bridges were built to carry light load and when you conduct integrity test on some of them now, I don’t think anyone would pass the test.
During the interactive session, some stakeholders blame the traffic congestion on some shipping lines who border less about having holding bail to keep their containers hence the roads are jam parked with trailer.
They appealed to the Federal government to take proactive measures to reconstruct Apapa roads and make other ports in Nigeria functional with a view to decongesting Lagos ports.
As an interim measure to ameliorate the sufferings of Apapa residence and business individuals, a Committee to be headed by the Apapa local government Chairman was set up to fashion out immediate solution to deal with the traffic situation that has brought Apapa to its knees.
Members of the committee would include NUPENG, shipping lines, Apapa residents Association, Tank farm owners, representatives of local government where tank farms are domicile, Dangote group, PMS Lagos State ministry of Transport among others.
Present were the Commander, NNS Beecroft, Commodore OY Eyo, a representatives of General Officer Commanding, 81 Division, 9 Brigade Commander, Brig Gen Elias Attu, representatives of Air Officer Commanding, Logistics Command, Ikeja, and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Lagos state command