Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, directs immediate removal of trucks on Lagos bridges and clearing of Apapa gridlock – a move that could save the nation $1.66 billion annually

A scene showing gridlock on popular Apapa road leading to the nation's port
  • Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari directs immediate clearing of the Apapa gridlock and the restoration of law and order to the nation's port axis.
  • The presidential directive also mandates the immediate removal of all trucks from the bridges and roads within Apapa axis.
  • Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to head the Presidential Taskforce team to achieve the new directives.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has directed immediate clearing of the Apapa gridlock and the restoration of law and order to the nation's port axis and its environs within 2 weeks.

The presidency stated this in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The presidential directive also mandated the immediate removal of all trucks from the bridges and roads within Apapa and all adjoining streets leading into the Apapa axis.

The directive mandates the immediate removal of all trucks from the bridges and roads within Apapa and all adjoining streets leading into the Apapa axis.

“To facilitate this important assignment, operators of trucks and tankers have also been directed to vacate the Port Access Roads within the next 72 hours."

The government said it has also set up a Presidential Taskforce, chaired by Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to restore law and order to the area within 2 weeks.

"The Taskforce, which will report directly to the President, has included on its Terms of Reference the development of an efficient and effective management plan for the entire port area traffic, including the cargo, fuel distribution and business district traffic; enforcing the permanent removal of all stationary trucks on the highway, and the development of an effective manual truck call-up system, pending the introduction of the electronic truck call-up system.

"It also includes the implementation of a workable Empty Container Return and Export Container Truck Handling Policy, amongst others," the statement concluded.

  • Kayode Opeifa, a former Commissioner of Transport in Lagos State, as the Executive Vice Chairman
  • Representative of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC)
  • Representative of Nigerian Ports and the Nigerian Shippers' Council (NSC).
  • A Commissioner of Police
  • Representatives of the Truck Transport Union
  • The Lagos State Government through the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority and other relevant MDAs.  

The government also asked Nigerian Navy and all other military formations to withdraw from traffic management duties in and around the Apapa axis, while military and paramilitary checkpoints in front of the ports and environs are to be dismantled.  

It, however, authorised LASTMA to move into Apapa as the lead traffic management agency while Nigerian Ports commence the immediate use of the Lilypond Terminal and Trailer Park A as a truck transit park. 

The Apapa road has become a nightmare for business owners and commuters that ply access roads within the area as trucks and tankers causing heavy traffic daily.

Last December, the Terminal operators in Nigeria said the country lost N600 billion monthly (about $1.66 billion annually) to the protracted gridlock at Apapa road.

A report by Dynamar, a maritime consulting firm, also stated that Nigeria lost 30% of its container traffic over five years due to chronic congestion and the poor quality of its services at its busiest port, Apapa Port in Lagos.

Recently, a shipment of 50,000 tons of cashew nuts valued at $300 million was threatened at Nigeria's Apapa port due to gridlock and inefficiency.

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