Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode on Wednesday met with tank farm owners in Apapa on how to resolve the perennial traffic jam in the area, vowing that the state has the capacity to make parties involved play by the rule.
He said the State Government will take a second look at the truck park at Orile with a view to expanding it to have the capacity to accommodate 1000 trucks.
The governor who spoke at an interactive session held at Lagos House, Ikeja, which also had other stakeholders in the petroleum storage industry in attendance, said the State Government is ready to embark on the project with inputs from the tank owners.
“If the tankers must come in every day into Lagos, we must have a location for them but not on the bridge. As immediate solution, I will continue to use my task force to clean up the bridge. And I will also immediately look at the truck park at Orile and expand its capacity from 350 to 1000 trucks.
“So for us to be able to accommodate you, you must come to the round table. You cannot fold your arms and say that it does not concern you. I am giving up the security and safety of Lagosians by accommodating 57 tank farms and giving up the safety and peace of Lagosians by allowing over 1000 trucks to enter Lagos every day.
“It is very clear that tank farm owners do not want to take responsibility for what is happening on the Apapa gridlock. It is very clear also that if we are to start to think in the manner in which these presentations have been made we would have to get everybody off the bridge. There should be no tanker driver that should enter Lagos except he is cleared by the tank farm owners or maybe we find a ticketing system to control them,” the governor said.
He further stated: “We have emphasized that the joint task force that we set up to clean up the bridge must continue and make sure that there is easy motorable access. We are not in a position to identify who is an intruder on the bridge. Our joint task force will continue and make sure that the truck and tankers do not constitute a nuisance to road users on the road.
“We want to take off the gridlock in Apapa. That is what I want to hear. How do we do it?. We can decide that no truck enters Lagos. We will do task force for 24 hours. No truck comes into your depot, but we would not shift the logjam to the Ibadan Express Road, because the point here is that some of them do not even have any reason to be here. But they used to be on that axis before.”
The governor also reiterated his appeal to the Federal Government to complete work on the bridge at Tin Can Port to ensure that the trailer park located there is completed to remove the congestion of trailers.
“We have also appealed to the Presidency to ensure that the contractor goes back to site. We reiterate that the Federal Government should ensure that the bridge is completed because that trailer bridge can take 500 trailers and is very close to the Tin Can Port and that allows us to take all the trailers to their trailer park.”
The meeting agreed to reconvene in a fortnight with a larger house comprising more stakeholders in the petroleum industry with a view to ensuring that lasting solutions are found to the issue of the gridlock in Apapa.