Traffic disappears from Apapa Port road as NPA starts electronic call-up system for trucks
Traffic in and out of Apapa, home to the nation’s busiest SeaPort has transformed from what it used to be with huge traffic gridlock to a free-flowing travel time, a report by Businessday with operational headquarters.
The financial newspaper reports on Monday that the commencement of the electronic call-up system by the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), sanity has been restored on the road leading to Port city.
The report stated that It was a moment of joy for businesses and residents of Apapa, Nigeria’s premier port city, as they celebrated the milestone achieved at the weekend by the introduction of an electronic call-up system that has ensured trucks are no longer littering their environment.
After years of untold hardship and deaths, sanity returned to Apapa, a once-thriving port city brought to its knees by protracted gridlock.
Apapa had in the past several years defied effort to solve its traffic problem. The efforts, including a presidential task team, were blighted by corruption.
The take-off of the electronic call-up system (Eto App) introduced by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has done what could pass easily as magic and residents and businesses in the port city are in high spirit as they celebrate this uncommon feat.
“If you have been to Apapa in the past you will know what I am talking about. Our businesses went down, property lost value and people were dying,” an elated resident, Chukwuma Vincent, said.
“We call on NPA to sustain this. I drove through to my house for the first time in many years and I cried. I thought we had no government in Nigeria again. This is worth celebrating and I can only hope it lasts,” Vincent said.
To underscore their appreciation of what has happened, Vincent said they were on a mountain of prayers now, telling God that “any evil fashioned against our governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Hadiza Bala Usman, the NPA managing director, Apapa Local government chairman and the current Apapa traffic task force members will not prosper. God bless Apapa Local government, God bless Lagos State, God bless Nigeria. Kudos to the team”.
Another resident who did not disclose his name want the local government authorities to come and clean the road that had been made dirty by the rampaging trucks now that they are out of the way.
According to this resident, what has happened is really is “tear-inducing… it really has been quite a psychological and physical ordeal… Apapa! I am almost scared to believe… it’s been that terrible to my everyday mental state …”
In a spirit of ecstasy, another resident exclaimed, “Wow; please, has anyone property to sell? Swimming pool and all that? I am now interested!”
Ayo Vaughan, chairman of the Apapa GRA residents association, had expressed optimism in the electronic call-up system, appealing to the NPA authorities and the Lagos State government to ensure that it was free from human influence and manipulation.
The newspaper monitoring the commencement of the new call-up system on Saturday showed a tale of two worlds at the two major routes to the ports.
Whereas the Western-Avenue-Ijora Bridge-Wharf Road axis was a success story with the whole stretch free of trucks, the same story could not be told of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, which still had a heavy presence of trucks, especially between Coconut Bus Stop and Tin Can Port First Gate.
However, there was a significant improvement on Sunday. Driving into Apapa from the Ijora end of the Iganmu axis was a pleasure on Sunday as the trucks that usually lined up the roads and bridges had gone.
The stretch of Ijora-Apapa Bridge connecting the Area B’ Police Command was free of trucks, thus allowing easy and seamless movement into Apapa.
A security operative said they had been working hard since Saturday, February 27 when the e-call up became effective, to maintain order and ensure that only trucks with valid permits get through to the port.
“Only trucks with a valid permit are allowed. In fact, none is even allowed to leave their park without being called up. The directive from the government of Lagos State and the NPA is very simple, no valid permit, no entry. Any violation of this order means impoundment of such truck,” said the security operatives.
“This is the beginning of a better journey time for our citizens within the Apapa seaports and environ. This electronic system has a limited interface with security operatives and unions, which usually cause the gridlock problem. It will be a simple case of possessing electronic clearance. If you don’t have it, you don’t have any reason to be around the seaports,” Sanwo-Olu assured.