May 30, 2023

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Operation free port corridor: Shippers’ Council excited as Apapa gridlock eases off, vows to sustain enforcement

Operation free port corridor: Shippers’ Council excited as Apapa gridlock eases off, vows to sustain enforcement

Three months after it flagged off ‘Operation Free the Port Corridor’ an initiative of the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) to free the port access roads, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has vowed to sustain the successes achieved in Apapa and its environs, as gridlock eases off.

This came as sanity is returning gradually to the Apapa access roads following enforcement of the operation as shanties and most of the trucks as well as articulated vehicles which usually park indiscriminately have disappeared allowing the free flow of traffic.

Speaking during an inspection of the port corridor and environs on Tuesday to review the exercise in the last three months along with representatives of other agencies and stakeholders, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Emmanuel Jime, expressed satisfaction with the level of sanity recorded along Apapa, Tin Can, Coconut Berger yard and Ijora axis.

He commended the port task team for its performance so far in clearing the port access roads and restoring sanity on the port corridor.

He said although there are still challenges in bound Apapa from Mile 2 as a result of the ongoing construction, the operation is work in progress.

Noting that efforts in the past to clear the gridlock had not been successful, Jime called on other stakeholders to support and cooperate with the port task team in order to sustain the sanity and free flow of traffic in the axis.

He said, “This journey started about three months ago and we know a lot of people who are a bit cynical whether or not this was going to be successful owing to the fact that such other efforts in the past obviously failed woefully. We started this even though most of us are unsure whether we are going to make this venture a success.

“But three months down the road, I think everybody can say with some satisfaction that the work of the task team is progressing satisfactorily and so kudos to them.

“I will like to use this platform to commend the enlarged presidential task team and to offer encomiums on all the stakeholders including the Lagos State government, Customs, Road Safety and the Nigerian police and other agencies that are involved in the maritime domain for the support that has been given to the task team for its work.

“This to me is positive. If some group of people that are patriotic, committed and sincere in the execution of a mandate, then anything can be done. This is what the task team is proving and so we are very excited that we are part of this particular effort.

“We are comfortable where we are with outbound Apapa so the next stage will be to see how we can translate this particular success we have recorded with outbound to inbound.

“The formula now is clear that all stakeholders must be on board for us to be able to succeed but more importantly the commitment and dedication of members of the task team. For the first time I think I’m able to say boldly that this is one thing no one can say he is able to compromise.


“This task team has demonstrated that there can be patriotic Nigerians who are able to perform their responsibility with commitment and sincerity and dedication.”

Meanwhile, the NSC boss has appealed to the Lagos State government to deploy technology in collecting tolls as he noted that physical toll collection by some agents of the state was also contributing to the gridlock on the port access road.

In his words, “I recognise the need to raise revenue whether it is at the federal or state level. However, we need to raise revenue while making sure that there is no obstacle in the ease of doing business. This is the 21st century; we can collect revenue and deploy technology as far as it is within the laws. We appeal to the government because the method used in collecting toll on the road is outdated; we can find a more ideal way of doing that without impeding traffic.”

Responding to the concerns raised by the NSC boss, representative of the Lagos State government, Olayinka Sakiru, said the state government will be introducing another method for the Lagos State Park and Gardens and the Apapa Local Government officials to collect toll in order to ease the gridlock on the port access road.

“We are also concerned about the toll collection, they (park management) should have another mode of collection instead of being on the road. We will work on that because we know hawking and collection of tolls add to gridlock,” he said.

Speaking earlier, National Coordinator of PSTT, Moses Fadipe, said the successes recorded were not without challenges as some personnel of the task team were attacked during enforcement of the operation.

“This is a journey we started on the 14th April 2022, with a distance of 2.6km where we have about 26 extortion points. The road seemed like a nightmare when we started, but no matter how the problem is, if there is cooperation, they would be able to surmount the problem.

“Before our operation, the roads were turned into indiscriminate parking lots, mechanic workshops and refuse dumps. We did a lot of education before enforcement and we cleared all encumbrances in 32 days.

“We have seen several attacks on the task team, physical and forceful attacks. For instance, we have an officer that was attacked and has been in the hospital for over two weeks. We thank God he’s alive and not dead,” he said.

Fadipe disclosed that very soon, the task team will commence some targeted sting operation at night warning that any state actor found defaulting would be prosecuted accordingly.

Photo caption:

Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Emmanuel Jime (left) and members of the Port Standing Task Team during an inspection of the port corridor and environs in Apapa on Tuesday.

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