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Opinion

Lagos Gridlock: Trinity, Kirikiri Police abandon duty post

There may be no end in sight to motorists’ harrowing experience on the Oshodi/Apapa expressway, in Lagos, as recalcitrant truck drivers, aided by men of Trinity and Kirikiri police stations, have taken over the busy access route, causing other road users to spend hours in the resultant gridlock.

Aside from policemen, some military personnel are also involved in the extortion drive.

Vanguard observed that as at 5pm, yesterday, the truck drivers, some of whom have greased the palms of the policemen, displayed acts of lawlessness by taking over the express and service lane, inward Apapa.

They also displayed flagrant disregard for constituted authority, as they parked on bridges at Mile-2, Kirikiri road, Berger Yard and Trinity, despite a Lagos State Government’s law, which prohibits indiscriminate parking of trucks on bridges.

Driving from UBA inward Apapa to access Otto-Wharf and Mile-2, outward Apapa, now takes more than one hour, as these truck drivers would have taken over the axis for themselves.

Vanguard staff, who leave the office between 9.30 and 11pm, are not left out of this long wait.

On Tuesday night, not a single policeman was sighted anywhere controlling traffic at the Kirikiri and Trinity ends.

Truckers pay N5,000, N10, 000

Military personnel were also sighted on motorbikes escorting some of the truck drivers out of the ports, after which the drivers would have paid them between N5,000 and N10,000, depending on the size of the truck.

Some of the truck drivers, who spoke to Vanguard, said they preferred paying the policemen or military personnel than touts, who they accused of stopping them frequently before they get to their destinations.

One of the truckers, Odundayo Oderinde, said: “We are tired of the extortion. It starts from Tin-Can and Apapa ports. That is why some of us resort to getting military men as escorts from the Ports to Second Rainbow. This is because from the Ports to Second Rainbow, there are no less than 15 stop points where agberos collect tolls from us.

“We spend at least N25,000 on agebros from the Port to Second Rainbow. But if a military man escorts us, we will pay less and won’t encounter any harassment.”

Further findings showed that miscreants who extort money from truck drivers on the axis, work for the securitymen assigned to ensure free flow of traffic on the same axis.

To enable them have a leeway in their nefarious activities, the miscreants create potholes on the route to force truck drivers to slow down on approach.

They also delay any truck driver who refuses to part with toll without consideration for other motorists behind.

Vanguard was reliably informed that the miscreants get more money at night and, at the end of each extortion, they would reportedly share the proceeds on a ratio of 70/30.

It is usually shared between them and their paymasters, with the latter having the larger share.

Truck drivers also lamented that some staff of Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, extort them inside the Port.

We’ll remove abandoned trucks soon—Taskforce boss

When contacted, Head of Operation, Lagos State Traffic Enforcement Management Committee on Apapa gridlock, Adekoya Hassan, said there were plans to enforce the Lagos State Traffic Law against indiscriminate parking on bridges around Apapa and environs soon.

Hassan said: “We are going to remove all those trucks parking on Apapa axis, including those on bridges.

“We are in the process of serving removal and compliance notice to owners of trucks and vehicles parked on the bridges and after the expiration of the window allowed, we will move in to remove all the vehicles and trucks.

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