The Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) says the incessant gridlock in Apapa and its environs are a setback to businesses of not only the transport unions but also other Lagos residents.
Alhaji Mohammed Musa, Chairman of the Lagos Chapter of the union, said on Saturday in Lagos that there was the need to end the recurrent traffic jam in the area.
Musa, who decried the gridlock, said that it had caused financial and time loss to the operations of members of the union and the public.
“Gridlock in Apapa is causing a great loss to the Nigerian economy as the major port is located there.
“The gridlock is causing a great setback to businesses in the state in particular and Nigeria as a whole.
“The Mile2/Orile road which is another important and international route leading to Seme boarder is also experiencing total gridlock due to construction of roads which have been abandoned.
“I think the government has solutions to all these issues causing pain and suffering to the transport operators and commuters,” the RTEAN boss said.
According to Musa, most of the commercial bus operators plying the area are threatening to boycott the business over their inability to meet up with payment of vehicle in their possession that are bought on hire purchase.
The state chairman appealed to the government to help to ensure that the contractors hand the job sped up work to alleviate the suffering of the masses.
He added that the ongoing construction on the Lagos-lbadan expressway had also been affecting flow of traffic, urging the government to expedite action on the completion of the project.
Sharing his experience, Mr John Nduka, a commercial bus operator, said that business had been very bad since the return of the gridlock.
“I operate from Ojuelegba to Ijora and with the gridlock, business time and fuel is wasted.
“We still charge the same fare, any attempt to add little to the fare, commuters will fight you but there are some that will not complain,” Nduka said.
Another commercial bus operator who plies the route, Mr Yusuf Ibrahim, said, “we are suffering, our take home is nothing again, government should come to our aid by finding lasting solution to these trucks and tankers taking over major roads.”
A cross-section of commuters, who spoke to NAN decried lost of business hours on the Apapa, Costain and Ikorodu roads as well as increase in fares.
A civil servant, Mr Timothy Ponle, who lives at Apapa and works on the Island, said that all through the past week, he resumed work very late, waking up early and returned home late due to traffic jam.
Ponle urged the joint taskforce in Apapa to help out, saying “the trucks are back again”.
A journey from Oyingbo to ljora now cost N150 against N50, while from Barracks (Funsho Williams road) to Apapa now cost N200 against N100.
Reacting, Mr Hyginus Omeje, Lagos Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), urged residents and motorists to be patient and obey traffic agents and rules.
Omeje, who said that the taskforce on Apapa traffic control was still operating in the area in which FRSC officers and other sister agencies belonged.
“Outside the 150 officers of the Corps that the Corps Marshal, Mr Boboye Oyeyemi directed, we deployed into the task force, we still have a special squad working on Apapa gridlock.
“Even other areas that the taskforce cannot cover, our men are there doing their statutory work,” Omeje said.
He attributed most of the gridlock to the “Ember Months” activities, saying that the port was busy with many ships coming into the country.
Omeje said that the construction work on the Lagos-lbadan road has been the major cause of gridlock.
He urged motorists to obey diversion rules on the roads where construction work is going on for easy flow of traffic, assuring that Lagos residents that gridlock would be over soon.
Also, Mr Hassan Mahmoud, Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), said that the authority was on top of managing the gridlock.
“Apart from the joint taskforce in Apapa, our men are all over controlling traffic.
“We appeal for the cooperation all road users to ensure free-flow of traffic and sanity on our roads,” the LASTMA spokesman said.