To stem the upsurge of road crashes attributed to operations of heavy duty vehicles in the metropolis, the Lagos State government has proposed the implementation of route restrictions for articulated vehicle and truck drivers operating within the state and movement period restricted to night.
At the stakeholders meeting with representatives of truck drivers’ unions at Ikeja, the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, announced that the current administration had mapped out dedicated routes to be plied between 9:00pm and 6:00am daily.
He stated that the move was necessary, as the Apapa area of Lagos had been rendered less profitable for investors in all sectors due to the gridlocks and activities of truck drivers along the axis, appealing further to stakeholders to cooperate with the state government to remedy the situation.
Oladeinde urged stakeholders to put aside their sentiments and think of other motoring public as the plan was not aimed at treating them unfairly, but opening up the state for greater economic realities, adding that attitudinal change on the part of truck drivers was necessary if any progress would be made.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Hon. Oluwatoyin Fayinka, declared that non-compliance from truck drivers would meet the full weight of the law with sanctions exerted on offenders, advising that they utilize the grace period to get their acts together and conform with the directives.
While requesting the Nigerian Port Authority to furnish the ministry with information on vehicles call-up schedule daily, Fayinka maintained that it would also help to control the influx of vehicles into Lagos, especially Apapa ports and prevent the loitering of tankers and trucks along road corridors with its attendant damage on road infrastructure which contributes to traffic gridlock.
Fayinka further advised operators to secure parks outside Apapa to curb the gridlock and work hand in hand with the State Vehicle Inspection Services (VIS) and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) by ensuring their vehicles are road worthy with the warning that rickety vehicles would be impounded.
The representative of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr Ayodele Durowaye, lauded the proposed initiative by the state government, stating that it wasn’t a new development. He, however, advised that a forum be created to discuss the technicalities and draw up solutions that would ensure safety and ease stakeholders’ operations.
The Lagos Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, Olumide Ogungbemide, said loss of lives could not be equated to sentiments being raised by truckers, disclosing further that only 8.0% of the operators have minimum safety requirements.
The General Manager, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Olajide Oduyoye and the Director Vehicle Inspection Service, George Akin-Fashola, appealed to the stakeholders to support the directive to prevent avoidable enforcement from the government, as the road infrastructure belongs to everyone.