Apapa gridlock returns with vengeance

Tanker drivers heading to tank farms operating at the Ibafon area of Apapa, Lagos last week blocked the road, disrupting human and vehicular movement for several days.

The gridlock, which extended from the Ibafon/Kirikiri/Mile2 to the Cele-Ijesha axis forcing commuters to trek long distances, was caused by the large number of tanker drivers who stormed private tank farms in the area 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 were 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.

Investigation by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY revealed that the development also created traffic gridlock along the Apapa/Ijora axis as traffic stretched from Wharf Road in Apapa to Ijora Olopa, Eko Bridge, Costain and Alaka in Surulere.

Further investigation revealed that hoodlums hijacked the unfortunate situation, dispossessing motorists and other road users of their monies and valuables.

A truck driver, Mumuni Alao, who said he had been waiting since Tuesday to load petroleum product, 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 here for petroleum products.”