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Though it is not only his trucks and articulated vehicles that line up and disrupt vehicular traffic initially around Lagos ports axis and lately southern half of Lagos State, majority of Lagos motoring public has called on Africa’s richest man and multisectoral investor, Alhaji Aliko Dangote to construct Africa’s largest Truck Loading Bay (TLB) in Lagos.
Lagosians who had repeatedly voiced out their frustrations on the failure of every known effort of the government both federal and state to rid the state highways and since recently, streets, say the President of Dangote Industries Limited, has the financial muscle to acquire massive land in and around Apapa and build a TLB with a staying capacity of over 10,000 trucks.
In an interview, a truck driver in Apapa who gave his name as Abdullahi Sadiq, said “All of us that are driving trucks have been receiving serious embarrassments from other motorists in the last couple of year because we are parking on the highways.
“Let me tell you, none of us is happy parking and living on the highways. What we are praying for is for the owners of our trucks to come together and invest in TLB around Apapa to end this daily curses from every Lagosian that ply highways.
Continuing, Sadiq said “If I have my way, I will approach Dangote to build TLB so as to run away from all these daily curses raining daily from everybody driving along every highway with parked heavy duty vehicles.”
Another container driver who pleaded anonymity argued that “For me, I will advise the incoming governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Sanwo-Olu to do something very different from what other governors had been doing and failing in the management of trucks on Lagos highways.
“Sanwo-Olu needs to immediately approach not only Dangote, but all major owners of large number of trucks doing business at the ports including BUA, Dufil, FMN, all independent marketers and others to discuss how to get rid of their trucks off the highways.
“We that are the drivers are also human beings and need comfort because living our lives on the highways is never our bargain before joining the driving business. One thing many motoring Lagosians should notice is the bad odor oozing out from the highways due to the fact that many of us do not leave in a house but inside our trucks and therefore ease ourselves at any point of the highway. In fact, we are the highest defaulters in Lagos open defecation and we don’t like it because it dehumanizes us.
Continuing, the driver said “What is in my mind is for the new governor to work with trucks owners to acquire massive land and build trucking bay.” First of all, there is an uncompleted TLB at Apapa opposite National Filling State. Sanwo-Olu can approach the federal government to find out what is dragging on the completion since Goodluck Jonathan administration.”
Though efforts to reach officials of Dangote Industries for comments on the excesses of their trucks on Lagos highways, there are strong indications that Dangote Refinery may come with a massive truck loading bay, however, it will be in Lekki, the location of the refinery.
Another remedy to the trucks excesses on Lagos highways is the planned Truck Call-Up (TCU) scheme even as the takeoff seems to have become endless since last year the idea was conceived by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
However, maritime transport stakeholders say even though TCU will be a good policy, the problem of where the trucks need to park ahead of receiving a call-up still need to be resolved which boils back to TLB.
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