Olaleye Idowu

The Lagos state government has blamed the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) for the renewed gridlock at the Lagos ports and consequent upsurge in traffic congestion in apapa.

This disclosure was made by the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on transportation and head of traffic, management and enforcement compliance team in Apapa, Toyin Fayinka

Explaining further, Fayinka said In February, the NPA introduced the electronic truck call-up system also known as ‘Eto’ designed to address gridlock on roads leading to the ports.

However, there has been an upsurge in traffic congestion raising concerns among various stakeholders.

Fayinka said, “The problem we are having today is a sudden closure of the gates by the NPA. It was not expected.

“NPA has an arrangement that for trucks to come into Apapa port, they will validate their papers. They call it ‘Eto’. That one is being anchored by Truck Transit Park and the NPA who are working together.

“Our own as the Lagos State Government is to ensure the free flow of traffic. We don’t benefit from the ticket or issue it.

“They were coming to the ports and all of a sudden we’re told that the NPA through the Chief Security Officer of Tin Can Port said they should close the gates. When I found out, I had two options. Either to turn these vehicles back to their garages or allow for a single lane.

“The best thing for me to do is to order that the vehicles should be turned back to their different private garages until NPA decides to open their gates.”

When pressed for the reason why the NPA ordered for the gates to be shut, Fayinka said, “I don’t know. They’ve not been able to give me any reason and that is not too good enough.”

The General Manager, Corporate & Strategic Communications at the NPA, Olaseni Alakija, however, said that contrary to reports, the truck call-up system had improved.

Alakija said, “Different associations have come to the NPA, even as at last week, begging for the call-up system to be maintained. It is obvious that things have really improved.”

Responding to reports about gridlock being back on the roads as well as the NPA shutting down gates, Alakija said, “Let us go to the ports physically so we can do an on-the-spot assessment. If you’re saying, we have not reached the desired level, maybe I will agree with you. However, we usually review our statistics and when we review for this week, we will get back to you.”

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