By Steve Agbota
Apapa Residents Association has accused officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the road contractor handling the Apapa-Oshodi expressway of sabotaging the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) e-call up system meant to check indiscriminate parking of trucks along the ports access roads.
The landlords who spoke with newsmen in Apapa said that in front of Area B, Customs officers are stopping trailers to check goods that have already exited the ports, thereby causing more gridlock along that stretch of the ports access road while Hi-Tech, the road contractor is also causing havoc by deliberately blocking the inward Tin-Can stretch of the port access roads with its heavy duty equipment.
The Chairman of the Apapa Landlords Association, Prince Aderemi Olikuntuiyi, said that the persistent traffic congestion in Apapa and environs has wrecked their businesses and denied them of good lives.
He said Customs officers are compounding the menace by creating unnecessary traffic jam for vehicles that have been cleared and had exited the ports, adding that Customs officers are not supposed to be checking vehicles that have duly been checked and cleared inside the port along the roads.
“That is what they do to us all the time and the worst happened when they brought out somebody out of his car and shot the person. We are not even safe. God forbid, if we are going out with our cars and they stop us and they suspected that maybe the car must have been a smuggled car, they can shoot us,” he lamented.
“Apapa has become endemic and we are not too happy. As you know, the road to Apapa and Tin-Can is being blocked by road contractor, Hi-Tech all in the name of repairing it. The annoying thing is that, in the night, they will open all the blockade and start collecting money from trucks. “During the day, they won’t provide alternative means for vehicles to pass,” Prince Olikuntuiyi lamented.
He said that the first day the e-call up system was announced, the road contractor blocked the accessible road at Flourmills.
“We have been pushed to the wall. Any moment now, we would react. What happened in Niger Delta might happen in Apapa if this trend persists.
“That is why we are agitating because we deserve to live better. We can’t continue with this Apapa gridlock because it is affecting our daily lives, businesses and our social life,” he lamented. He added that for years, Government at all levels have forgotten Apapa community, adding that the Apapa residents are ready to take their fate in their own hands.
“We are synergising to go back to NPA to let them realize that all Federal Government efforts at getting rid of Apapa gridlock has come and failed. We that we are living in Apapa, we want to take our faith into our own hands,” he said.