Lagos order on gridlock’ll affect economy – Tanker drivers

The vacation order and ultimatum issued to truck owners/drivers by the Lagos State Government will have devastating effect on the Nigerian economy, the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and its sister union, the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), have said.

According to the unions, the order may worsen the state of fuel scarcity in various states across the country, as they stressed that they would abide by the order.

National President of NARTO, Kassim Bataiya, and his PTD counterpart, Salimon Oladiti, in a joint statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja, stated that only six depots out of the 54 loading depot facilities in Lagos had petroleum.

On Wednesday, the Lagos state government, in its bid to address the traffic gridlock in Apapa and other parts of the state, issued a 48-hour ultimatum to truck owners and drivers.

In the ultimatum, it mandated the truck owners/driver to remove their trucks out of Lagos until the availability of petroleum products is restored in the tank farms situated in Apapa and its adjoining areas.

Reacting to the order, the unions said, “The implication of the vacation order to the truck owners/drivers will have devastating effect on the nation’s economy. However, as law abiding organisations, we call on all our members (owners/drivers) to comply with the vacation order while the two organisations are working with government and other key stakeholders to ensure free flow of traffic within Lagos and its environs.”

They stated that for close to a month Nigeria had been hit by serious petroleum product shortages arising from the inability of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and major oil marketers to ensure adequate supply of the product to the market.

“As Nigerians, we regret that this situation still persists,” the unions said.

NARTO and PTD, according to the statement, said, “We saw and heard from electronic media that NNPC pumped 1.2 billion litres of petrol into the market, only six depots out of the 54 loading depot facilities has petroleum in the Lagos area.

“We therefore concede to Lagos State Government the right to take any action they deem fit to restore public order and ensure environmental safety. We are worried that even the loaded trucks cannot move out of Lagos due to traffic gridlock.”

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