THE Presidency, yesterday ordered immediate clearance of Apapa gridlock and restoration of law and order to Apapa and its environs.
The Presidency also directed trucks and tanker operators to vacate the Port Access Roads within the next 72 hours.
The Vice President, in July 2018, had made an unscheduled visit to the area to assess the situation and directed relevant government agencies to immediately embark on the decongestion of the popular road.
He had ordered a 72-hour joint operation to clear the gridlock around the Apapa Expressway caused by stationary trailers but the effort was fruitless.
The directive was contained in a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande in Abuja.
The directive mandated the immediate removal of all trucks from the bridges and roads within Apapa and all adjoining streets leading to the Apapa axis.
According to the statement, the directive was as a result of an emergency meeting convened by President Muhammadu Buhari and chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on April 25, 2019.
It stated: “The meeting proffered lasting solutions to the gridlock around the Lagos Ports, as the traffic congestion has continued to restrict all operations and livelihood in the area.”
It further stated that before the directive was given, key heads and representatives of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, of government, including the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola; Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu; representative of the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral B.E.E Ibe-Enwo; Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Salaam Taiwo Olufemi; and the Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Dr. Sokonte Davies, among others were at the meeting.
The statement read: “Consequently, a Presidential Taskforce, chaired by Vice President Osinbajo, was established to restore law and order to the area within two weeks.
“The Taskforce, which will report directly to the President, has included on its terms of reference the development of an efficient and effective management plan for the entire port area traffic, including cargo, fuel distribution and business district traffic; enforcement of permanent removal of all stationary trucks on the highway, and the development of an effective manual truck call-up system, pending the introduction of the electronic truck call-up system.
“It also includes the implementation of a workable Empty Container Return and Export Container Truck Handling Policy, among others.”