Okada Ban: Customs agent advocates for coordinated traffic management at Apapa


A licensed customs agent, Sir Tony Anakebe has called for a coordinated and serious traffic management in the port city of Apapa so as to ease the hardship faced by ports users and operators as a result of the recent ban on the use of motorcycle popularly known as Okada and tricycle also known as Keke NAPEP as means of transportation in some parts of Lagos including Apapa by the Lagos State Government.

Anakebe who made this call in an interview with our correspondent in Lagos recently, noted that with the recent ban, many people who initially parked their vehicles would be forced to bring them out thereby leading to another round of gridlock which only efficient traffic management could resolve.

“Congestion will not be there if it is well managed because there will be a small lane dedicated to cars only to move in and out of the ports but the actual thing is that as long as those tankers are on that road and you know how stubborn they are, any little thing the federal government does, the next day they will say they are going strike and the government will now come back to beg them. So, the actual thing is to have a serious traffic management along the access roads.

While pointing out that the short term measure to address the effect of the ban on the port users was to create a lane from Mile 2 to the ports solely dedicated to cars and buses where people could drive in and out of the port, he however expressed doubt that “as it is now, I am seeing that as being possible because there is no way you can control these tanker drivers.”

Commenting on the ban of Okada, he said, “You cannot say that ban on use of Okada is bad, the problem we have in Apapa here is because of road reconstruction and the tank farms that are within Apapa here and the tankers still on the roads, even the few reconstructed roads, they have taken it over. So, we will feel it because in most of the ports around the world that I have been to, you drive into the port and drive out but you cannot drive into this Apapa now and drive out because you cannot access the ports. The tankers and tank farms and the trailers are still on the road, unless all those ones leave and port users can drive in and come out, that is when we will not feel it again.

“But as long as these tankers and trailers are still on the roads, that even from Mile 2, you cannot drive to the port, then, what are we saying? We will feel it, all of us are feeling it and I have said it and will say it again, unless all these over 50 tank farms in Apapa are relocated, Apapa problem cannot be solved.”

On the negative impact of the ban on businesses in Apapa, Anakebe who is also the Managing Director of Goldlink Investment Limited had this to say, “The negative impact is that people cannot access the port; you can only trek to the port. You cannot access the port easily and if you go into the port, coming out is something you trek back. That is the major negative impact and officers find it difficult to get to their offices even before 12noon. So, it is reducing the work pace and man hour they put in their jobs.

“As at now, everything is on the low path until there is solution to it. When people find solution to it, where officers come to work in time and where agents can find themselves inside and outside the port as easily as possible, that is when it will pick up.”

He however said that “Okada, we enjoyed it while it lasted but most of the agents have died as a result of Okada and Keke menace. The Apapa traffic management for years has killed a lot of agents and even truck drivers themselves. So, there is need for urgent solution to Apapa problem.”

Photo: Managing Director of Goldlink Investment Limited, Sir Tony Anakebe.

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