Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has approved the reconstitution of a joint task force to tackle the traffic gridlock in the Apapa axis of the state and its environs.
The state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr Imohinmi Edgal, told newsmen of the development at the State House, Alausa on Wednesday, after the state’s Security Council Meeting chaired Ambode.
The gridlock in the area is caused by the backlog of articulated vehicles, trucks and petroleum tankers trying to access the Apapa ports and the ongoing rehabilitation of some roads in the axis.
Edgal said that the reconstituted task force would also check the menace of traffic robbery in the axis.
“As regards the Apapa /Tin-can Island gridlock occasioned by trucks and containers, the governor has approved with immediate effect the reconstitution of a joint task force made up of the Police, the military, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority officials and the Federal Road Safety Corps.
“This will ensure that while the major problems that give rise to that situation in the first instance are being tackled, we on our part as security agencies will ensure that we have a good semblance of decency on our roads.
“We will make sure that smaller vehicles have a corridor created for them. There must be no complete blockade; we will create free flow of traffic.
“We will also have plain cloth and uniformed security agencies ensuring that there is no crime in these areas due to the gridlock,” Edgal said.
He assured residents that necessary arrangement had been made to ensure a peaceful Yuletide, and said the council also approved increased visibility and patrol in all parts of the state.
The police commissioner said that this was especially in areas where there were traffic gridlock as a result of construction activities.
According to him, over 35 notorious traffic robbers were recently arrested based on intelligence reports in the Ilupeju and Oshodi axis of the state.
He assured residents that the highways and streets were safe for them to go about their normal businesses.
According to him, the Police is also in partnership with local vigilante groups to ensure security in the neighbourhoods.
“Across the state now, the Police and known profiled vigilante groups patrol our neighbourhoods at night.
“Statistics at our disposal show a 35 per cent drop in issues of residential robberies,” he said.
Edgal advised residents to be more vigilant and have close ties with the local police stations, as there was bound to be more influx of persons as Christmas approaches.
On the use of fireworks, Edgal said the ban on certain categories was still in force.
“Any resident who sells, distributes or uses industrial fireworks would be arrested and charged to court.
“The ban on such is still very much in force,” he said.
Speaking on the ongoing clampdown on commercial motorcycles popularly known as` Okada` on restricted routes, Edgal said security agencies in the state had been given marching orders to strictly enforce the traffic law.
“No lawlessness or breakdown of law and order will be condoned.
He particularly admonished motorists and transport unions to impress it on their members to obey traffic laws.
The police commissioner said motorcycle riders must not only refrain from restricted routes, but also use helmets and also provide one for the passenger.
He said they must not carry more than one person at a time, among other rules of engagement.
“We have the Lagos State Traffic Law and it is our responsibility to enforce the law.
“Motorists, motorcyclists and other forms of road users must obey the law.
“Our men have been mandated to enforce all aspects of the law, not only prohibition along some routes, but also those aspects that have to do with safety.
“We don’t want officers and men to be challenged unduly when they are enforcing the law and I want to use this opportunity to call on the unions, especially the Okada unions, to call their members to cooperate with the police.
“They should not form themselves into pressure and riotous groups to challenge the police and other security agencies,” Edgal said.