Gridlock Imminent As FG Withdraws Presidential Taskforce From Roads

By Benjamin Omoike

There are concerns over the possibility of return of anarchy in Apapa as the Lagos Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, is yet to take control of the axis, three days after the Federal Government handed over the restoration of law and order, as well as the control of traffic management to the Lagos State Government.

It was learnt that the decision to hand over the continued enforcement of law and order to the Lagos State Government, was taken on Wednesday at a meeting with the representatives of the Vice President, Nigeria Ports Authority, the Federal Road Safety Corps and other federal agencies.

President Muhammadu Buhari had inaugurated a Presidential Taskforce headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as the Chairman and Comrade Kayode Opeifa as the Vice Chairman, to restore sanity on the axis, following the near total collapse of law and order, which led to indiscriminate parking of trucks, tankers and containerized heavy duty vehicles on roads, leading to Apapa and its environs.

With the Presidential Taskforce,  normalcy had since returned on the axis with the disappearance of trucks and tankers on the bridges and roads on Ikorodu Road, Iganmu Road and other axis, leading to Apapa. The taskforce team, it was learnt, was able to check corruption and defined a strategy that guaranteed easy access to Apapa for the residents, business owners and other stakeholders.

However, there have been serious concerns among stakeholders and residents, who had also commended the Professor Yemi Osinbajo-led presidential taskforce for the restoration of sanity over perceived failure of the Lagos State Government to take ownership of the control of the traffic situation for the past three days that the Presidency directed the state government to take charge.

The stakeholders, who also expressed doubt over the ability of LASTMA to sustain normalcy and  build on the success already recorded by the presidential taskforce, lamented that the state traffic management agency was yet to take control of the axis, days after the decision was taken and the chaotic traffic situation has begun to resurface.

Speaking on the development, a resident, Mr Seun Adeoye, expressed worry that Apapa might become inaccessible again with the withdrawal of the presidential taskforce, wondering if LASTMA could effectively enforce the law and order as the presidential taskforce did.

“We are afraid that the situation in Apapa may get worse with this decision. This is a problem that the military couldn’t solve. Now that businesses are returning to the axis due to the normalcy returned by the presidential taskforce. Before the advent of Osinbajo-led Presidential Taskforce, corruption had taken over in the axis, but the taskforce men were able to deal with Its strategy put in place. I don’t think LASTMA is prepared for this onerous task,” he said.

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