Kayode Opeifa, the Team Leader of the Presidential Committee on Clearing of Apapa Port and Access Roads, has debunked reports of truck drivers being exploited by security personnel to ply the Apapa axis of Lagos State.
Speaking in an interview, Opeifa, a former Lagos State Commissioner of Transportation, said the committee has blocked all possible avenues of extortion, adding that only naive drivers of articulated vehicles, whom he described as “mugu”, are the ones being exploited by canny individuals.
“You can go out now to assess the level of that extortion. As far as this Apapa Wharf is concerned, there is no reason for anybody to be extorted except the person is a ‘Mugu’ (someone gullible)”, Opeifa told the Punch.
“You know ‘419’ (fraud) is not legal but people go out and do it and if they get you, you fall prey. So many scams are going on. If there is gridlock and people need to return their empty container and somebody tells them that instead of spending five days, which will cost them N100,000, give me N20,000, some ‘Mugu’ will fall for that. But we removed the opportunities for extortion.
“NPA is working hard, Nigerian Shippers’ Council is working hard and the Federal Government is working hard. NPA is working on the electronic call-up system and the call-up system may be finalised by the end of August. So many things are coming up to remove the opportunities of extortion.”
Opeifa stated that the traffic gridlock situation has improved, noting that the trucks have been removed off Eko Bridge, Orile and Wharf road.
He, however, admitted that the committee has yet to resolve the situation at the Oshodi end of the Apapa-Oshodi expressway.
He said: “We are still working on the Oshodi end; there are four roads. Orile is clean; you won’t see trucks on Orile. Eko Bridge and Wharf Road are clean. Creek Road is free, so you won’t see trucks there but along Apapa to Oshodi route, you will see trucks because we have yet to open Mile 2 – Kirikiri. But we have opened the one between the port and Sunrise. That is the area that is left.”
Opeifa noted that the trucks will still continue to converge in Apapa since the port is located in the area, but assured that the committee would ensure that the trucks would not be stationary on the roads.
He also urged importers and businesspersons to make use of the Onne, Warri, Oghara, Calabar ports in order to decongest traffic at the Lagos port.