In defiance of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s recent ultimatum to restore order along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, truck drivers and touts have continued to occupy the area, daring the governor’s directive.
Governor Sanwo-Olu had issued an ultimatum last Friday, ordering truckers to vacate the road or face consequences. Despite partial compliance on Monday, the traffic situation has deteriorated, with touts returning to the Mile-2 area without any intervention from the police or the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA).
The truck drivers, who claim to have paid off various parties involved in traffic management on the route, challenge the Lagos State government to address the underlying issues rather than merely scratching the surface. They emphasize that they, too, are suffering from the prevailing conditions and demand a comprehensive solution.
One truck driver named Abdullahi pointed out the role of the police, LASTMA, NUPENG officials, and area boys in extorting them, highlighting the harsh working conditions they endure. He urged the government to convene a meeting involving all stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the problem.
While the drivers express their desire for smooth traffic flow, they question why authorities have not addressed harassment and extortion by various security agencies and area boys, which hinder their operations.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government has called for a stakeholders’ meeting with port operators to address the ongoing gridlock along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, particularly in the Mile-2 area. Stakeholders include NUPENG, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), NURTW, RTEAN, LASTMA, Nigeria Police, FRSC, PTDA, Nigerian Navy, and the Army, among others.
The Lagos State government has expressed concern over the situation in Mile-2 and the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway and is determined to restore order. The government will make critical decisions during the meeting to ensure peace and normalcy return to the area in line with Governor Sanwo-Olu’s commitment to restoring sanity in Apapa.
Residents and stakeholders in the area emphasize the need for comprehensive enforcement and monitoring of policies to address the chaotic traffic situation. They suggest implementing successful transport policies and systems like those in other areas to alleviate the suffering of both commuters and businesses in Apapa.
While the task force had previously improved the situation in Apapa, residents stress the importance of road repairs by the local government to prevent bottlenecks. Coordination, monitoring, and public awareness campaigns are also recommended to inform truck owners and port users of the changing conditions on the road.