…Insists there’s gridlock in Apapa!***
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has frowned on the increasing use of uniformed men either to drive or escort port bound trucks, saying the act actually fuels corruption.
The NPA made the observation during the recent Stakeholders’ brainstorming session at the Rockview Hotels, Apapa Lagos, organized by the Nigerian Shippers Council, towards restoring sanity and eliminating gridlock in Apapa and its environs.
Presenting the Ports Authority position, the NPA Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman who was represented by bold and articulate Mrs. Funmi Olootu also controverted the notion that there was no gridlock in Apapa, stressing the existence of intimidating gridlock.
“Why are trucks on bridges?” she asked; and proceeded to answer it, pointing out that in so far as there are Uniform mentioned instruct the drivers: “Go,…stop…and go again”, they would always remain a constant factor on the bridges.
“Uniform men driving or uniform men escorting trucks is corruption”, the Authority posited, stressing that while it could not be argued that “there is gridlock in Apapa”, the real problem is the flying of corruption, which epitomizes corruption.
Hadiza frowned on the idea of realing out statistics of law enforcement operatives, like police and LASTMA that died in active service in Apapa, but drivers too.
“Drivers also died. It wasn’t only LASTMA Operatives or Police that died. So, there should be collective concern!”, she stated, before identifying a class of truck drivers, particularly those with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, for their peculiar driving styles of moving, matching the break to exchange hands loaded with money.
The Authority while praising the yeoman’s efforts of the Presidential Tasks Team (PTT), particularly its Vice Chairman, Comrade Kayode Opeifa as peerless and totally committed, she however debunked allegations of licensing illegal jetties.
“We know the jetties we licensed”, she stated, emphasizing that the NPA has not licensed or endorsed illegal jetties!
She was however sad that owners of houses strategically positioned in Apapa had begun to convert their properties to either container holden bay or container terminals.
Ironically, though truly articulate, coherent and a marvel to listen to, the Authority did not properly address why the Lily Pond Truck Terminal has been compromised and made redundant.
The Authority only agreed on the need for higher synergy between the Terminal Operators and it’s management so as truly checkmate errant truck drivers whose desire to cut corners may worsen the dreaded gridlock.