The Ports Standing Task Team (PSTT), a committee established by the Nigerian Presidency to alleviate gridlock on port access roads, has lodged accusations against several entities, including the Lagos State Government, the operators of the call-up system (TTP), the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), and the police, among others. The PSTT claims that these parties have been obstructing its efforts to clear the Oshodi-Mile2 inward Tin-can gridlock.
A comprehensive investigation conducted by Vanguard, with support from key sources in the affected areas, has revealed the existence of no less than 58 extortion points, allegedly operated by a variety of entities. These entities include the police, Park and Garages ECOMOG, Oduduwa boys, Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), Maritime workers, Apapa Local Government Area (LGA), and area boys, among others.
According to Vanguard’s findings published on Wednesday, along the expressway heading inward to Tincan, there are 25 extortion points where each truck driver reportedly pays a fee of N61,000. On the outbound route from Tincan, there are 12 extortion points with a toll of N25,000. In the Apapa corridor, there are 19 such points with a fee of N52,000.
The disagreements between truck drivers and those collecting the fees often lead to severe traffic congestion in the affected areas.
PSTT Vows to Clear Gridlock if Ordered by the Presidency
In an exclusive interview with Vanguard, Mr. Moses Fadipe, the National Coordinator of PSTT, responded to claims that the committee was slow to take action on the issue. Fadipe asserted that previous attempts to clear the route were impeded by the aforementioned agencies, who contended that they had already established a task force to address the situation.
Fadipe emphasized that the PSTT possesses the capability to clear the port access road, just as it successfully did on the Apapa access road, which is now free of gridlock and motorable. He noted that the PSTT not only cleared the Apapa access route but has also been maintaining it for some time.
The PSTT leader conveyed that if the Nigerian Presidency were to issue an order today for the PSTT to clear the gridlock on the Oshodi-Mile2 inward Tin-can route, it could be achieved promptly.
Fadipe commented, “Remember, we keep talking about in-bound trucks going to the ports. When we cleared the out-bound and wanted to move to the in-bound, it became a problem. What was the problem? The Lagos State Government; TTP, the operators of the call-up system; LASTMA, and the police said they have constituted a task force to look into it.”
He added, “I am happy Vanguard is doing a campaign. If you remember, at a time Apapa was impregnable but PSTT was able to clear it, and up till now, we are able to sustain that route, and that is why people are able to go in and out of Apapa today.”
Call-up System Absent for Tankers, Says AMATO
Responding to the situation, Mr. Sanni Mohammed, the Secretary-General of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), pointed out a significant issue: the absence of a call-up system for tankers. He stressed the need to schedule and organize the movement of tankers to various fuel depots to allow other road users access to the roads as well.
Mohammed noted, “You see, the tankers on the road do not have a call-up system that organizes and schedules their movements from pre-gates to their respective depots. They come to the roads and park indiscriminately and any slight challenge, they come out and block the road, and go on strike, committing all sorts of impunity.”
He further emphasized the importance of establishing orderliness and stakeholder engagement to regulate the movement of trucks and tankers in the port and depot areas, stating, “The tankers and the depots are the problems we are having on that axis, there are too many depots on that axis, and without a template that will regulate the movement of tankers and port-bound trucks, they will be a problem.”