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NEWS UPDATE: Senate orders probe into Apapa gridlock, alleged extortion by port officials

NEWS UPDATE: Senate orders probe into Apapa gridlock, alleged extortion by port officials

In a tender to address the protracted Apapa gridlock in Lagos Province, the Senate has directed its the Commission on Marine Transportation to investigate the implementation of the e-call upward system and allegations of extortion by port officials and written report dorsum on the way forward.

The upper legislative chamber on Tuesday in Abuja also urged the federal regime to collaborate with the Lagos Province regime and other critical stakeholders to evacuate all petrol tankers and heavy duty vehicles along the Apapa Ports access route as good as ensuring that tank farms are relocated to other areas.

Similarly, it advised the Federal Ministry building of Works to commence the reconstruction and repairs all access roads to seaports, namely Apapa Creek route, Apapa Oshodi Expressway, and Tincan Isle patch urging the private terminal operators to explore body of water transportation as an choice in the motion of containers.

These formed parts of the resolutions reached by the Senate on a movement, titled: “Urgent demand tackle protracted Apapa gridlock in Lagos and cover the newly introduced electronic phone call upward system of admitting trucks into the terminal” by Senstor Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central) and co-sponsored by Senator Solomon Adeola (Lagos Due west) and Senator Adetokunbo Abiru (Lagos East) during plenary.

Leading debate on the movement raised through Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Rules on matter of urgent public importance, Senator Tinubu informed that existence the country’s most valuable import and export gateway, and a high yielding revenue hub, Apapa port is currently raking in over N1trillion annually into federal regime’s treasury through various taxes, levies and tariffs.

She, nevertheless nonetheless, lamented that “the gridlock which has persisted on access roads to Apapa Seaport in Lagos, and has for many years be a source of heartache for individuals and businesses plying the route.”

Açcording to her, “the gridlock has persisted due to the terrible status of Apapa port, the concentration of tank farms in the area, indiscriminate parking of crude tankers and trailers wanting to load crude products from the tank farms and the racket created by persons benefiting from the chaotic state of affairs.”

The lawmaker famous that the tank farms attract thousands of trucks and tanker drivers who lift the crude products for onward render to Nigerians who owing to the paucity of parking lots take upward all the space on the route instead thereby causing traffic.

Senator Tinubu informed that there in relation to 40 tank farms in the Apapa axis lone, saying that “this over concentration is disadvantageous because one accident could be the undoing of this really important aspect of the federal regime highway.”

She decried the poor lineament of port access roads, complex ports procedures and ineffective truck phone call upward system amid other factors contributing to delays, inefficiencies and gridlock in Apapa with huge cost to Nigeria’s economic system.

The lawmaker famous that “this gridlock has increased the cost of doing business, encourage illegalities and stiffen ports activities with its attendant negative impact on regime’s revenue projections”, adding that it has continued to pose security threat to the lives of harmless Nigerians as hoodlums exploit the state of affairs to disposes motorists and passers-by of their valuables.

Senator Tinubu farther stated that the pitiful province of the roads has led to a number of trucks and containers falling on smaller vehicles, killing harmless citizens patch goods worth millions of Naira are also destroyed or stolen in these accidents.

In his contribution, Senator Adeola stressed the demand for collaboration betwixt the federal and Lagos Province governments to tackle the menace one time and for all, adding that the Senate should invite the Government minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi for interrogation on the national embarrassment on the route.

But Senator Nicholas Tofowomo (Ondo S) restated his phone call for a seaport in Ondo Province so as to serve neighbouring states similar Ekiti, Osun, Edo and Delta and thereby decongesting the Apapa Seaport in Lagos.

As well, he said additional seaports would create job opportunities for the teeming public and farther improve the country’s economic system.

The Senate, in other resolutions, also mandated the Commission on Marine Transportation as good as those of the Works and Crude (Downstream) to run across the Nigerian Ports Say-so, NPA; concessionaires; Nigeria Union of Crude Engineers and all other stakeholders to ensure resolution of pending conflicts and ensure synergy amid stakeholders.

It commended the federal regime for the reconstruction of Oshodi – Apapa Expressway, and the completion of the Apapa Ports spur line of the Lagos-Ibadan rail.

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