At last, fuel tankers vacate Apapa roads, bridges

Petroleum tankers, which have turned access roads into Apapa, Lagos into their parking lots have finally vacated the roads and bridges.

The trucks, which had in the last two weeks, taken over the access roads, causing a gridlock in which commuters could spend the entire day, finally moved away from the roads yesterday.

Petroleum tankers from all over the country, in a bid to load petroleum products, had taken over Eko Bridge, all the way down to Apapa and similarly blocked Ijora, Costain, Western Avenue and the Apapa-Mile 2 Expressway.

As a result of the ensuing traffic, which held Apapa and it’s environs hostage, the Lagos State Government had last week issued a 48-hour ultimatum to petroleum tankers parked within 200 metres to 300 metres to any depot, to leave.

As of yesterday morning, there was no petroleum tanker parked on Eko Bridge.

Also, petroleum tankers, which had for months taken over a part of the Apapa-Mile 2 Expressway, have been removed thereby allowing for a free flow of traffic in and out of Apapa yesterday.

Meanwhile the National Union of Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) yesterday said that the Lagos State Government vacation order to its members would have a devastating effect on the economy.

The PTD President, Salimon Oladiti, told NAN in Abuja that the multiplier effect of the directive might have grave consequences on the economy.

“The implication of the vacation order to truck owners/drivers will have devastating effect on the nation’s economy,” he warned.

Oladiti, who was represented by his spokesperson, Abdulkadir Garba, said the drivers were ready to comply with the order.

He, however, said it would not be easy to return the trucks to Lagos to lift fuel after being chased out hurriedly.

The president said the union had met with the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and directed all its members to comply with the 48-hour ultimatum by the state government.

The state government on May 13 gave an ultimatum for the vacation of the trucks, following the persistent traffic gridlock in the Apapa area of the state, which spilled over to other parts.

The ultimatum ordered all tanker drivers parked within 300 meters of fuel depots in the state to relocate to safe parking lots pending the availability of petroleum products.

Oladiti said though the time given to the drivers was not convenient, but as a law abiding union, the members obeyed.

He said that more than 6,000 trucks thronged Lagos to load fuel based on the information by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation that it had 1.2 billion litres of fuel in stock.

The PTD president said the union discovered that only six fuel depots with 400 litres capacity of the 56 depots in Lagos had the product which resulted in the gridlocks.

“Now that we have obeyed the order and the truck are moving out of Lagos back to their different destinations without lifting products it will take time to persuade them to go back to Lagos.

“This is because of the losses they have incurred which were as a result of uncertainty, the tanker owners and the drivers will be wary of taking another risk to come to Lagos even if there is fuel,” he said.

He expressed fears that the development would worsen the lingering fuel scarcity that had persists.

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