18 September 2014, Lagos — Barely a month after road users thought the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway had been freed from the perennial traffic gridlock, tanker drivers heading to tank farms operating at the Mosheshe Avenue, Kirikiri Town of Lagos to load petroleum products, blocked the road, disrupting human and vehicular movement for hours.
The gridlock, which extended from the Kirikiri/Mile2 to the Cele-Ijesha axis forcing commuters to trek long distances, Vanguard gathered, was caused by the large number of tanker drivers who stormed the private tank farms in Kirikiri Town, in search of petroleum products.
The tankers were said to have converged at the axis because they could not get the product from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, depots as the workers are currently on industrial action over pension issues.
NNPC and Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, workers under the aegis of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, and Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers, NUPENG, had downed tools to protest the demand by the National Pension Commission, PenCom, for the unions to stop in-house pension fund management system and adopt the open pension system.
Hoodlums take charge
Vanguard also gathered that hoodlums hijacked the unfortunate situation, yesterday, dispossessing motorists and other road users of their monies and valuables.
One of Vanguard’s Editors, who was robbed on his way to the office said: “It is rather unfortunate that hoodlums could successfully rob me and other motorists of monies and other valuables along the Mile2 axis today (Wednesday).
“During the attack, there was no presence of security operatives on the road. So the hoodlums had a field day. Something urgent must be done by the state government to avert this unfortunate situation in future.”
Meanwhile, when Vanguard visited the Kirikiri Town, which houses the five tank farms operated by Techno Oil, IndexPetrolube Africa, Swift Oil, Fatgbems Oil and Bovas Oil, tanker drivers were seen leaving the tank farms in droves, but got stuck in front of the Nigerian Maritime Resource Development Centre, NMRDC, Kirikiri.
Tanker drivers’ tales
“The horrible situation here is the cause of the traffic gridlock,” said a driver simply identified as Haruna.
Another driver, Mumuni Alao, who said he had been waiting since Tuesday to load, said: “There is no good reason for this gridlock other than the strike embarked by NNPC and DPR workers.
“Because they are on strike and their depots are not opened for business, most tanker drivers had no option but to come to Kirikiri for petroleum products.”
– Ikenna Asomba & Ediri Ejoh, Vanguard