To further promote the safety and security of drivers and passengers in commercial transport activities, the Lagos State government has urged all transport operators to get accredited at the Public Transport and Commuter Service Department (PTCS) under the Ministry of Transportation.
This is coming at a time the traffic management enforcement team constituted by the state government to resolve traffic gridlocks in Apapa and its Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) counterpart met to devise strategies for action.
In a statement released by the Ministry of Transportation, the director, Public Transport and Commuter Services, Ashaolu Ajewole, stated that the accreditation of transport operators was vital for the procurement of vehicle body tag, driver’s badge, stage carriage permit and terminal access permit.
The documents, he explained, are now required for operation within the metropolis.
Ashaolu stated that all commercial passenger vehicle operators, owners, drivers and conductors including mini-buses, tricycles, all commercial buses, e-hailing and regular cabs, are required to get accredited to legitimise their operations, as well as enhance public trust.
He further disclosed that the exercise would hold continuously at the Directorate of Public Transport and Commuter Services, Block 3, Code of Conduct Bureau, opposite the Police College, Oba Akinjobi Way, GRA, Ikeja, adding that the documentation was mandatory for operators.
The statement also appealed to stakeholders in the public transport sector to participate in the exercise to avoid enforcement measures from the state government.
In another development, the Lagos State newly constituted Traffic Management Enforcement Team charged with resolving traffic gridlocks in Apapa, and a similar outfit set up by the NPA Security, embarked on their first inspection of Apapa to find solutions to the lingering problem.
The special team, which is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring zero tolerance for traffic offenders and seamless traffic management, are to also ensure restoration of sanity in and around Apapa in order to create a cohesive system that would aid the resurgence of business activities.
The joint team is also expected to ensure a conducive residential environment devoid of traffic-induced stress.
Briefing the press on their activities in the past two weeks the chairman of the team, Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Oluwatoyin Fayinka, explained that they had been able to design a road map and the strategy to be adopted.
Fayinka said, “presently we are in discussion with the various stakeholders; the NPA, Shippers Council of Nigeria, terminal operators and Association of Trucks Union, on the best way to do business around Apapa Ports without break down of law and order.”
The team Chairman stated that part of the discussions held with the Truck Owners Association operating around Apapa was that each company should acquire park terminals for their fleet of vehicles to serve as holding bay pending when they will be called up for loading.
He added that NPA was already ramping up the Call-Up System that would ensure that trucks that are not yet called for loading do not hang around the ports thereby constituting obstructions to traffic.
Fayinka also assured that seven parks had been prepared as holding bays for trucks at various locations around the metropolis, stating that they are at: Ojota, Obanikoro, Oregun, Olowotedo-Ibafo, Amuwo-Odofin, Orile-Iganmu, and Okorisan-Lekki/Epe. The parks, he said, would keep trucks away from the roads until they are called up for loading.
Expressing his displeasure at the situation at the port with its attendant traffic gridlock which has paralysed business activities around Apapa corridor with extension to other parts of the state, Fayinka affirmed that the NPA Call-Up System would help to reduce the traffic gridlock around Apapa.
Also speaking, a member of the team, Shola Giwa, stated that the responsibility of getting rid of stationary vehicles on the bridges and roads within a short period of time, would only be achieved with the cooperation of NPA.
Giwa enjoined the NPA to involve the Chairman of the team in implementing the Call-up System in order to ensure effective enforcement of the new directives for articulated trucks and tankers. He added that it would also ensure a synergy that would bring a lasting solution to the gridlock.
The General Manager, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Jide Oduyoye, who is also a member of the team, charged the NPA to turn away trucks that are not road-worthy and allow the traffic laws of the state run its course on deviant companies by embracing transparency in solving the gridlock problem at the port.
Oduyoye also suggested that a rescue system be put in place by the NPA in the interim to ensure the immediate evacuation of vehicles from the roads, as well as prevent extortion from the law enforcement agencies. He stressed that the bad condition of the trucks make them to break down on the road, resulting in traffic build-up.
In response to the issues raised, the General Manager, Security, NPA, Mohammed Jamil Khalil, assured of the authority’s unrelenting support in freeing Apapa from traffic congestion.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Kamar Olowoshago, stated that the smart city vision of Lagos could only be actualised if all stakeholders retrace their steps by taking responsibility for the damages done on Apapa and channel efforts and commitment towards tackling the gridlock.