Commuters going into Apapa, Lagos now spend between three to four hours in traffic both from the Ijora end and the Mile 2 end.
Findings by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY revealed that the situation, which started about two weeks ago, has been made worse by current fuel scarcity in the country.
A journey from Surulere to Apapa which ordinarily takes less than ten minutes took SHIPS & PORTS DAILY reporters over three hours to complete yesterday.
While no major impediment was noticed on the road, the reasons for the gridlock have been attributed to the uncontrolled parking of trucks on the roads and the activities of policemen and other security operatives within the port city.
Not less than three hundred trucks were seen lined up on the road from Ijora Bridge through Barracks Bus Stop to the front of Lagos Port Complex, Apapa and from Coconut Bus Stop past Tin Can Island Port second gate on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway. The parked trucks leave only narrow lanes through which other vehicles pass. Most of the trucks were said to be on the road due to the absence of parking lots for them.
A truck driver, who was seen taking a nap under his vehicle on Wharf Road said he had been parked there for two days.
“I come here since Sunday. I wan go inside port but na here I fit park before dem allow me to enter,” he told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY.
Apart from the indiscriminate parking of trucks on the road, the activities of policemen attached to Area B Command of the Nigeria Police Force is also said to be taking a toll on the traffic situation.
“They collect money at Barracks Bus Stop right in front of the police station from the truck drivers and in the course of stopping the trucks to collect money from them, they create traffic,” Usman Abubakar, a resident of Apapa Government Reserved Area (GRA), said.
He said life has become unbearable for most residents of the Apapa community, which houses two of Nigeria’s major seaports, several tank farms and petroleum jetties.
Abubakar said that many businesses in Apapa are haemorrhaging because “many of the workers don’t get to work on time.”
Abubakar said: “They either have to leave their houses very early or if they leave at normal times, they won’t get to work until about 11 or 12 noon by which time they would be tired. Apart from that, by 3pm or 4pm, they will be thinking of leaving for home. So tell me, what meaningful work would they have done?”
Apapa has also not been spared the long queues at petrol stations which has characterised many parts of the country since last week.
The filling stations at Ijora, Wharf Road, Creek Road and around the Tin Can Island Port axis all have long queues of vehicles waiting to buy fuel thereby contributing to the traffic problem.
Abubakar said that the traffic situation may persist until tank farms are evacuated from the Apapa area and a truck park constructed for trucks plying the ports.
“Many businesses which survive out of Apapa are already leaving for other areas. The problem has been like this for about ten years. It goes and comes again so I don’t have hope that it will disappear just like,” he said.