The loss of man-hours and eventual profit caused by grinding traffic conditions in the nation’s commercial capital are soon going to be a thing of the past.
A presidential directive was issued on Wednesday 22nd May, directed towards the immediate clearing up of the Apapa gridlock and the restoration of law and order to Apapa and its environs. The directive mandated truck owners to implement the immediate removal of all trucks from the bridges and roads within Apapa and all adjoining streets leading into the Apapa axis within 72 hours, and established a Task Team to work on emergency traffic management solutions for two weeks after the ultimatum deadline.
Two weeks since the issuance of the directive, Ikorodu Road, Costain, Breweries, Carter Bridge, Eko Bridge are now clear of trucks, leading to significant improvement in the flow of traffic along that corridor. Order has also been restored along the Ijora-Wharf axis with a single unhindered lane access for the movement of vehicles with legitimate business into the ports. The Nigerian Ports Authority, working with terminal operators, shipping lines and truck unions, has a call-up system in place that channels the flow of trucks from the 34 private trailer parks, through Lilypond terminal, to the Apapa port. Under the current arrangement, Lilypond caters for export cargo with the required documentation and called-up empty container-laden trucks. A window has also been created for the movement of trucks belonging to manufacturers operating within the port area. Over 100 non-compliant trucks have also been impounded by the combined team of mobile police, LASTMA and FRSC officials towards the enforcement of the presidential directive.
Speaking on the progress of the operation, Dr Jumoke Oduwole, SSA to the President on Industry, Trade & Investment/PEBEC Secretary stated: “The overarching mission of the taskforce is to create respite for road users in and around the Lagos ports. We are relieved to see remarkable improvement along the Ijora-Wharf axis. Enforcement commenced along the Mile 2-Tin-can expressway on June 3 and we expect to see some improvement in the coming days. While there is still much to do on an ongoing basis, it must be said that the restoration of law and order at our ports goes beyond traffic management. We remain committed to restoring normalcy to our ports area, and the Task Team is collaborating with Government institutions to ensure sustainability of the progress already recorded.”
The presidential directive was issued by Mr President based on the outcome of an emergency meeting convened at his request and chaired by His Excellency, the Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN GCON. The meeting sought to proffer lasting solutions to cleaning up the gridlock and decongesting the Lagos ports, as legacy traffic congestion issues had severely restricted operations in and around Apapa and its environs.
All this signals the commitment of this current administration to creating an enabling environment for enterprise to fourish within the nation.
The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) was set up in July 2016 by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, to remove bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria and make the country a progressively easier place to start and grow a business. The Council is an inter-governmental and inter-ministerial one which is chaired by His Excellency, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, and comprises 13 ministers, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, representatives from Lagos & Kano State governments, the National Assembly and the private sector.