President of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners, Mr Remi Ogungbemi, has said that the deployment of security operatives on the Apapa Port axis is not the solution to the traffic chaos in the area.
In a chat with Financial Street in Lagos on Monday, Ogungbemi frowned on the proposed re-introduction of task force by the Federal Government to decongest the Apapa ports area.
The AMARTO boss described the approach as using outdated tools to solve modern problems, adding that the strategy had failed to address the issue.
Describing the reintroduction of task force as unfortunate, he stressed, “It shows the government does not know how to tackle the issue holistically.
“That government has hammer does not mean every problem is a nail. There are problems whose solutions do not require the deployment of police and military rifles, but a simple technological approach.”
He explained that when the disbanded Presidential Task Team was newly introduced, it led to the institutionalisation of bribery.
“Why does government always see the deployment of security operatives as the best solution to Apapa and Tin Can Island ports traffic gridlock, even when the same strategy failed to resolve the problem in the past?” he said.
The first PTT, he noted, was disbanded by government following an avalanche of complaints of gross abuse of its mandate for selfish ends in the maritime trucking industry.
He disclosed that the management of Nigerian Ports Authority appointed a company called Truck Transit Park Limited to manage Lilypond Transit Park to find a lasting solution to traffic issues in the area.
NPA also introduced an automation system of admitting trucks seamlessly into the ports and eliminate traffic congestion, which is scheduled to take effect on February 27, 2021, Financial Street gathered.
“We also, as an association, came up with a Truck Scheduler System for seamless admission of trucks into the ports without hassles. Unfortunately, the Federal Government is planning to introduce another task team to control traffic in Apapa and Tin Can road axis.
“The TTP or TSS can seamlessly admit trucks into the ports, petroleum tank farm, depots and factories without trucks clogging the roads and bridges,” Ogungbemi said.
According to him, under this arrangement, all trucks would be made to leave the roads and bridges for their private garages, while the terminals and NPA will decide and approve which container or cargo is ready for loading and which truck is in turn to leave its park for loading at the ports.
“Tags should also be allocated to trucks that are approved by the automation system to make sure that only trucks with approved tags are allowed to move on the ports access roads.
“We use this forum to reject the introduction of battalion police or any task force to be on the road for manual control of traffic into the ports,” he added.
Ogungbemi fingered human interference as one of the major causes of the traffic gridlock in the axis, adding that the TSS would replace all human encumbrances militating against free flow of traffic.