A Presidential directive has been issued for the immediate clearing up of the Apapa gridlock and the restoration of law and order to Apapa and its environs in Lagos State within 2 weeks.

Lagosians have long complained about how the indiscriminate parking of articulated vehicles, plying the Apapa ports, on roads and bridges have contributed a lot to traffic gridlocks in the state.

According to a statement released by the presidency on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, the new 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 statement read.

Traffic gridlock caused by articulated trucks on Lagos roads has been a source of headache for the government for years [Guardian]
Traffic gridlock caused by articulated trucks on Lagos roads has been a source of headache for the government for years [Guardian]

The directive is the result of an emergency meeting convened by President Muhammadu Buhari and chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on April 25. The meeting proffered lasting solutions to the gridlock around the Lagos Ports, as the traffic congestion has continued to restrict all operations and livelihood in the area.

The resolution from the meeting included establishing a Presidential Taskforce, chaired by Osinbajo, to restore law and order to the area within 2 weeks.

The statement disclosed, "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 Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has been authorised to move into Apapa as the lead traffic management agency, while the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is to commence the immediate use of the Lilypond Terminal and Trailer Park A as a truck transit park.

The Nigerian Navy and all other military formations have also been mandated 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.

The directive further mandates compliance by all security personnel and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government, while heads of the NPA, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, and all other security operatives are to ensure their officers' adherence to the new directives.

Members of the Presidential Taskforce include Kayode Opeifa, former Lagos State Commissioner of Transport, as the Executive Vice Chairman; a representative of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC); the NPA; and the Nigerian Shippers' Council (NSC).

Others include a special unit of the Nigeria Police Force led by a Commissioner of Police, representatives of the Truck Transport Union, the Lagos State Government through the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), and other relevant MDAs.