Traffic gridlock yesterday grounded all human and vehicular activities along Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, as commuters, motorists and other road users were stranded in traffic for several hours due to activities of truck and articulated vehicle operators who parked indiscriminately on the expressway.
As a result of the standstill situation, impatient motorists resorted to driving against the flow of traffic, otherwise known as one way driving, even as Customs Controllers have to fly motorcycle (Okada) to their commands. However, commuters alighted from the commercial buses held up in the chaotic traffic and trekked long distances to their various destinations.
The road from Ijesha bus stop to Berger Cement, along the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway was completely locked down. The situation was worsened by lack of holding bay, truck parts and the current road rehabilitation, thus subjecting motorists, residents, commuters and other road users to untold hardship.
Investigations by Daily Sun showed that the gridlock which eased off few weeks back resurfaced due to the massive extortion going on between security personnel stationed on the road to manage the traffic.
Road users lamented that the gridlock has caused more havoc for them as robbers now taking the advantage of the situation to dispossess them of their valuable items both day and night.
A Customs officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity blamed the situation on the slow space of the ongoing road construction, adding that the gridlock has negatively affected their operations and revenue generation.
“On several occasions, we have to hire special Okada (bike) for our Area Customs Controller (CAC) before he could access our command. This is telling on our efficiency and operations because before getting here, we must have spent hours in the traffic. The situation is terrible my brother,” he lamented.
A Freight Forwarder, Ezeanyangwu Okafor said there has not been any respite on the road despite the e-call up system, which he said has become a money making venture for some people benefiting from the situation.
According to him, the traffic situation persists due to poor access roads and the failure of the government to prevail on the contractor handling the construction of the Apapa-Oshodi expressway to expedite action.
He said: “there will be gridlock because the NPA electronic call up is just a nomenclature. The e call-up system is a money-making venture for NPA and some people are benefiting from it. For each call up, trucks pay N10,000 but this is just the official money. They still part with other money being given to security operatives before they get to the port.”
He said there will be issues with the e-call up because the main issue that has to do with the gridlock coupled with the state of the road has not been addressed, adding that people can only come into Apapa through Wharf Road because the other road from Berger to Trinity is impassable.
Also lending his voice, an exporter, Bodunde Adeniyi who lamented the pain and frustration port users go through to access the port, described the traffic situation as terrible, with armed robbers seizing the opportunity to rob motorists and commuters of their valuables day and night.
“Look at Mile Two road, the government knows quite well the importance of the port so why break all the roads just to show you are working while people are being stuck in traffic? On a daily basis, hoodlums and arm robbers attack people at Mile 2. These are things that the government should look into if we really want the e-call up to succeed because there are vested interests sabotaging the system,” he said.