03 October 2014, Lagos – After about a month of relief from the traffic gridllock on Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, petrol tankers and container-laden vehicles, that were major culprits, are back in full swing, as motorists and other road users have, in the past three days, been subjected to torture on the road.
Meanwhile, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, yesterday, decried the resurgence of gridlock caused by indiscriminate parking of tankers and other heavy duty trucks on the expressway, inflicting untold hardships to hapless Nigerians.
When Vanguard visited the scene, the entire road had fuel tankers parked on both lanes of the dual carriageway, leaving no room for other road users.
Some of the motorists, who spoke to Vanguard, said the traffic was subjecting people to untold suffering as hoodlums take advantage of the situation to rob them.
Narrating his experience, a road user, Amos oyedeji, who said he had been in the traffic for about four hours, lamented that the Apapa situation had gone completely beyond control as previous interventions by Lagos State government had yielded no meaningful result.
He said: “This traffic is all the way from Sanya. I had to find my way to Agboju to make the journey easy. On getting there, I realised that Agboju was also blocked. Now, I have been in this traffic for the past four hours.
“This journey should not take more than one hour. The Apapa traffic right now is beyond anybody. It’s only the Federal Government that can salvage the situation. It is understan-dable that Lagos State government has done its best.
“It is a complicated situation because even if you ask that the tank farms be moved, what about the ports? As a matter of fact, only the Federal Government can decide what should happen on this road.”
Another motorist, who simply identified herself as Juliet, said the pain people go through just to travel a short distance was unimaginable.
‘I might sleep here’
She said: “It is incredible what people pass through here. I have spent more than two hours just to move from Mile 2 to the customs outpost in Otto Wharf and I am going to Apapa later.
“It is obvious I may have to sleep here and then proceed with my journey later tomorrow.”
She further decried government’s failure to address basic challenges confronting the country which, she noted, had snowballed into economic losses for the country.
Juliet said: “As for what can be done, I do not know about the Nigerian government. This government has deep problems. This country is without light or road.
“How can we ever expect foreign investors to ever come here and invest to address the problem of unemployment plaguing this country?
“I do not think there is hope. With this kind of bad management and purposeless leadership, how can we ever hope to get out of our mess?
“This road, for instance leads to Apapa, a place that generates billions of dollars for the government, yet the government cares so much less about its condition.”
Hoodlums on the prowl
On his part, Anthony Alagba, a company driver, lamented that being in the traffic during the day was even bearable.
He said as soon as night falls, hoodlums swoop on hapless motorists and other road users at night.
According to him, “I was here Tuesday last week, around 9:30p.m. Since the traffic was not moving, some thugs approached me and ask me to wind down the louvre. When I refused, they broke the left side door window and collected my purse containing money.
“When they were leaving, one of them broke my vehicle light. When I got to the office, I was asked to pay.”
Maritime workers react
Meanwhile, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, has decried the resurgence of the gridlock on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.
President-General of the union, Mr. Anthony Nted, who spoke in Lagos, lamented that the gridlock had exposed motorists and other road users to attacks, robberies, harassment and intimidation by hoodlums.
He called on the concerned agencies of government, especially security operatives, to live up to their responsibilities to the citizens.
Nted, who spoke during activities marking his 54th birthday on October 1, reminded the government of the agreement it reached with the union over the menace of tanker drivers and other heavy duty trucks on the expressway, the state of access roads to Lagos ports, tank farms, among others.
He urged government to fulfill its part of the agreement to avoid the union’s reaction.
According to him, “we cannot continue to live like this where some people will take law into their hands and violate the rights of others to use the road.
“We cannot continue to pretend that all is well when in actual sense, some people have decided to deliberately inflict pains, suffering and disrupt business operations of others.
“We cannot understand why tankers and other articulated vehicles are parked indiscriminately on the expressway, preventing other motorists and road users from usage of the road, while law enforcement agencies appear helpless.
… on agreement with FG
“We had an agreement with the Federal Government to find a permanent solution to the menace of tankers and other heavy duty vehicles on Apapa/Oshodi Expressway, which leads to tank farms located in Apapa, the ports, among others.
“The government appears to be reluctant in meeting its part of the agreement. We only suspended our planned industrial action and we will not hesitate to renew our ultimatum should government fail to immediately restore sanity on Apapa/Oshodi Expressway.
“Maritime workers and other Nigerians, working in Apapa and its environs, must be allowed to do their legitimate businesses without hindrances.”