The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has commended the management of the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) for using technology to address the traffic logjam at the Apapa area of the state.
Mr Sanwo-Olu, who spoke when the Managing Director of the NPA, Mrs Hadiza Bala Usman, paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House in Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday, said he was excited with the introduction of an electronic call-up system.
The system, according to the NPA, would ensure that trucks are allowed on the Apapa corridor via a booking system. The initiative would be launched this Saturday and it is one of the ways put in place to tackle the perennial gridlock in the area.
Governor Sanwo-Olu expressed optimism on the transparent electronic call-up system, saying the move was the beginning of the end of Apapa gridlock.
He said the call-up platform would be complemented with virtual dashboards that will be placed in strategic locations around the seaports, where all stakeholders will monitor the scheduling of container movement.
The Governor praised NPA for the innovative approach towards tackling the truck menace around ports, pledging that the state government would sustain the effort with strict enforcement of traffic regulations along the Apapa corridor.
He said, “This is the beginning of a better journey time for our citizens within the Apapa seaports and environ.
“This electronic system has a limited interface with security operatives and unions, which usually cause the gridlock problem.
“It will be a simple case of possessing electronic clearance. If you don’t have it, you don’t have any reason to be around the seaports.
“In enforcing the new regulations, we are deploying more than enough towing vehicles to impound erring trucks.
“The huge amount to be paid as fine for flouting the call-up system will be a deterrent for drivers not to repeat it.
“The stakeholders need to understand we are serious about ridding Apapa of the menace that has brought pains to our citizens living and doing businesses along the corridor.”
Mr Sanwo-Olu said the state government would be deploying 500 officers of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to work collaboratively with NPA and enforce the new call-up regulation, directing the state’s agency not to spare any effort in achieving free flow of traffic in Apapa.
With the new system, no container-laden truck is expected to go on Apapa corridor without clearance from the call-up platform. Any truck that flouts the electronic roster and park along Apapa corridor will be impounded by the taskforce.
The NPA boss said the electronic system had addressed the excuses usually given by truck drivers for parking their vehicles on the highways, stressing that any truck found around the ports without electronic clearance would be impounded.
“The deadline for the commencement of the electronic call-up system is February 27, 2021 and we are here to strengthen collaboration with the Lagos State government on implementation and compliance as we commence the process.
“The new system will be done in collaboration with the State. We have worked seamlessly to ensure Apapa is rid of the menace of trucks,” she said.
“All truck owners and stakeholders have been briefed about the new development over the past months. Any truck found in Apapa corridor without call-up clearance will be impounded and Lagos Government will provide the platform with which any fine payment will be collected,” she added.
Mrs Bala Usman said the era of individuals depositing empty containers in the seaports was over, noting that empty containers must now be deposited with the shipping companies, which are expected to keep the containers in their holding bays at no cost to individuals who own the shipment.