Army, Navy, Police to clear Mile 2-Apapa road
A massive operation will be jointly mounted by the presidential taskforce and the Lagos state government on the Mile two-Apapa axis shortly after midnight on Sunday to dislodge errant tanker and trailer drivers who turned the corridor into a nightmare for road users and residents.
The operation to be supported by teams of well armed mobile policemen, army, navy and Airforce follows weeks of consultations with stakeholders and comes after the historic visit to the corridor last Sunday by a visibly angry governor Babatunde Fashola.
During the visit, the governor expressed shock at how the once quiet and healthy port area of Apapa has been messed up by tanker and trailer drivers and their masters, the owners of tank farms who recently came under attack for their fraudulent involvement in the management of the controversial petroleum subsidy regime.
BusinessDay learnt that the officer who led the dismantling of the age old gridlock at Oshodi in Lagos has now been brought on board and will play a key role in the operation beginning on Monday.
As prelude to Monday’s operation, the police command will tomorrow send a detachment of 70 heavily armed mobile policemen to mount surveillance along the corridor and the number will rise to 200 cops just before the operation begins in the early hours of Monday.
Professor Sylvester Monye, who heads the presidential taskforce told Businessday that it was now time to act to restore sanity to the corridor and ease access to the Apapa and Tin Can ports which handles the bulk of shipments into Nigeria.
According to Monye, “we are ready to take these people out. We have had extensive consultations with the various stakeholders because we chose not to take anyone unawares and with the strong support of the Lagos state government, I believe will succeed this time. What we want to do is to replicate the huge success at Oshodi in Lagos.”
He said president Goodluck Jonathan has given directives to the inspector general of police, the garrison commanders of the Army, Navy and Air force to provide the critical support for Monday’s operation to ensure total clearance of all the trucks and their drivers if they fail to exit the corridor by the Sunday midnight deadline.
Apart from spending hours for journeys meant to take minutes, commuters along the axis have frequently fallen victim to daily raid by armed robbers who kill and maim car owners at sun set.
Key federal agencies like the NNPC accused of abusing its powers by granting tank farm permits in an uncontrolled fashion and the Ports Authority which regulates the ports in the country, virtually abdicated their obligations and allowed the tank farm owners and their tanker and trailer drivers to become lords to themselves.
At one point tanker drivers had the temerity of asking government to provide them parking lots as condition for obeying simple traffic rules in the nation’s commercial capital