3 Reasons Why Apapa Traffic Will Not Go Away Soon
Last week, the horrifying traffic along the Lagos Apapa-Oshodi traffic worsened.
Some trucks and tankers took over the entire carriageways from Apapa to Iyana Isolo, onward Oshodi.
It became so bad that its ripple effect was felt across Lagos mainland.
The emerging mega city city was saved the misfortune of an impending shut down by the intervention of the visiting Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who ordered the removal of all the trucks.
The combined team of Navy, police, Federal Road Safety Commission, and Lagos State Transport Management Agency swung into action and had the trucks removed overnight.
It was a huge relief. The Apapa-Oshodi expressway was so free that one could go from Apapa to Oshodi in less than 20 minutes.
Sadly, the relief was short-lived.
By Sunday evening, the trucks were back. As you read this, an entire carriage way from Apapa to Sanya along the Oshodi-Apapa expressway has been overtaken.
So, why has the Apapa gridlock defied solutions? Here are 3 reasons:
1. Over dependence on Lagos Ports: The Lagos Port Complex and the Tincan Island ports take more than 80% of the port activities in Nigeria.
The result is over congestion that has contributed significantly to the infamous Apapa traffic.
With thousands of trucks coming into Apapa from all parts of Nigeria, traffic gridlock is inevitable.
The solution is to decongest the Lagos ports by opening up the other ports cross the country including: Onne port in Rivers, Warri port in Delta and the Calabar port.
Plans for inland dry ports in Kaduna, Onitsha and Aba could help in decongesting the Apapa ports.
With alternative active ports, the number of trucks streaming into Lagos ports will reduce and that will also have positive impacts on the traffic situation.
2. The Government Is Making More Money From The Apapa Situation: You see, for every truck that enters Apapa, the Apapa local government makes at least 1,000 naira.
And for every truck that is unable to get in or out of the port, the owner of the goods they were meant to carry pays demurrage.
So, while it is common knowledge that the Nigerian economy is losing at least 1 trillion naira daily to that gridlock, the government is in fact not losing revenue.
Perhaps decongesting the ports can put more money in the hands of operators and businessmen, it will actually mean loss of revenue to the government.
It remains to be seen if the government can put the interest of the economy above their revenue interests.
3. The Apapa Gridlock Has Taken A Life Of Its Own:
You see, there are loads of people who now make a living from the Apapa traffic.
From the truckers’ union to the Navy, the Apapa traffic has become a huge source of quick cash.
The recent complication actually resulted from the squabble between the Union and the Navy over charges on passage.
It was gathered that after the Navy took over the management of the traffic, they started collecting around 30,000 naira per truck.
They called it express fee for those who didn’t want to wait in the queue. But because everyone was desperate to get in and get out, the truck drivers caved in.
But the Navy allegedly got greedier and increased the express fee to 50,000 naira per truck and then the truck drivers protested by going on strike.
The traffic went south.
So, with all these interests, it remains to be seen how the traffic gridlock could be resolved.