Apapa gridlock: Senate committee condemns extortion by security agents

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PHOTO CREDIT: SHIPS & PORTS

The Senate Committee on Works on Friday has condemned the extortion of truck drivers by law enforcement officers in Apapa, calling on the appropriate authorities to investigate and punish such officers.

The committee, led by Senator Kabiru Gaya, made the call in Lagos during a meeting with maritime stakeholders on how to resolve the perennial Apapa gridlock. 

The committee, which organised the meeting as part of its oversight function, also advocated cooperation between various government agencies to address the gridlock. 

It called for a multi sector approach between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to grant waivers to encourage importers use other ports outside Lagos.

The committee appealed to truck driver unions to come together and increase areas where they could park their trucks while calling on NPA to speed up processes aimed at restoring order.

The committee directed that the Apapa Truck Park under construction opposite the Tin Can Island Port Complex be completed and handed over to NPA for use latest May 2 or May 3.

Gaya expressed concern that the gridlock had persisted despite various interventions by government. 

“It is a shame to all of us in Nigeria that this gridlock should continue,” he said. 

After extensive deliberations, Gaya ruled that all forms of corruption causing the problems be nipped in the bud as the Buhari administration had zero tolerance for corrupt practices.

“We’ll set up a small committee within the next four days consisting of security agencies, Customs, clearing agents and so on to give us a report within three days so that we can use that report and also implement that report,” he said.

“The Federal Government is trying to get more temporary parking spaces for trailers, therefore, the Tin Can Trailer Park is being completed and we have ordered them to commission that park within the next one week.” 

Various stakeholders at the event lamented the poor condition of road, absence of truck parks and the indiscriminate parking of trucks on the bridges in Apapa and other parts of Lagos. 

The meeting was attended by other members of the Senate Committee on Works including Sen. Mao Ohuabunwa, Sen. Clifford Ordia and Sen. Barnabas Gemade.

Various stakeholders and government agencies including the representatives of the Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC), Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), terminal operators, shipping companies and truck owners associations were also in attendance.