Apapa gridlock: Truckers commend VP Osinbajo’s Task Force intervention

Luqmon Balogun, Lagos


The Amalgamation of Container Trucks Owners have commended the intervention of the presidential task force headed by the Nigerian Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo to clear up the gridlock in Apapa and its environs.

This comes following the allegation of corruption leveled against the Presidential Taskforce on evacuation of trucks and tankers on Apapa axis of Lagos.

The Union has however faulted the allegation, saying that the team has restored the lost glory of the route.

Speaking on the development, the Chairman of Amalgamation of Container Trucks Owners, Chief Olalaye Thompson explained that the intervention has so far, brought a new lease of life to the Truckers, people and the State.

According to him, prior to the intervention of the Osinbajo-led presidential taskforce, they paid as much as N150,000 or more to access the port, saying that corrupt practices which took place under the previous joint taskforce were responsible for the persistent gridlock in the axis.

“The way the previous joint taskforce operated was alien to the whole system, when it is 9 to 10 in the morning, they stopped truck from crossing until the 8 pm in the evening and during the period of the stoppage, and the gridlock would have built up. People were then forced to bribe their way to the port. Then it became the highest bidder show. The drivers were force to bid for the amount they can afford to pass.  Somebody can offer N100,000 while another one can offer N120,000 or more,” he said.

On the restoration of sanity in the area, Chief Thompson said most Nigerians and all the commuters in the axis could testify to the fact that the new presidential task team has done perfectly well since the inception of its operation.

Thompson emphasised that the era of bribing security personnel and other touts who take as much as N150,000 or N100,000 to access the port has gone for good, saying only those who have genuine document now have access to the port.

He said: “I am saying this with all sense of responsibility nobody can say that he is paying N20,000 to access the port. As the leader of the truck owners, if anyone is paying such there is no way I will not know. Our members must have come to tell that there is no different between the presidential task team and other previous task force in the area. Under the previous joint taskforce led by the Nigerian Navy, a lot of blunder was perpetrated people pay as high as N150,000 and N200,000 before they could cross.”

Also speaking, a member of the Presidential Task team, who refused to give out his name, said so many touts who disguised as law enforcement agents to swindle truckers had been arrested and detained.

He said those criticizing the presidential task team in the media were those who benefitted from the old corrupt system which the Vice President has been able to remove on Apapa axis.