Kayode Opeifa, vice chairman of the presidential task force on restoration of law and order in Apapa, Lagos, has challenged any truck driver who has spent days on the road due to traffic to speak out.
The Apapa gridlock has crippled commercial activities in the area regarded as the gateway to the nation’s economy because of the ports there.
During the weekend, Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, said between 2017 and 2019, his companies suffered a loss estimated at N25 billion as a result of congestion and gridlock in Apapa.
Speaking when he visited NAN office in Lagos on Tuesday, Opeifa said the force which the federal government set up to clear gridlock, had done a lot in improving the traffic situation at Apapa.
“Our job is to remove stationary trucks and we have removed them. I challenge any trucker, who claims he spends days on the road to come out and speak up,” he said.
“Our job is to get trailers off the roads and make the roads open. Occasionally, there are incidences which the Lagos State Government bears.”
He said several people, including himself, had at one time or the other, sustained injuries in the course of trying to bring sanity to Apapa.
“It is not good to announce it but we have recorded fatalities. I am afraid saying it because it will always be on the headlines. I am also a victim of an accident in the course of discharging my duties and I was lucky to escape with a damaged vehicle,” he said.
“The first day we started the restoration of law and order, we lost a LASTMA officer by accident. A truck was reversing and the LASTMA lady was behind.
“Recently, we lost another LASTMA officer who was stoned to death. We also lost a police officer, who was crushed. We have several people that were hit, including myself. My vehicle was hit but thank God nobody died. The vehicle was almost a write-off.
“This type of development happens continuously. There were very terrible ones where people were losing limbs and losing their hands.”
Opeifa, a former commissioner for transportation in Lagos, said over 120 traffic violators were arrested on the first day of the operation.
He said the main focus of the team was to restore order and not to arrest trucks because there was nowhere to put them after arrests were made.
He called for collaboartion among stakeholders operating at Apapa ports to restore law and order in the area permanently.
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