Two traffic officers of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency and a policeman have lost their lives in Apapa, Lagos State since the Federal Government commenced an initiative to restore smooth traffic in the area.
Kayode Opeifa, Executive Vice-Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on Apapa Restoration of Law and Order, made the disclosure on Tuesday in Lagos.
Opeifa spoke when he paid a courtesy visit to the Lagos Office of the News Agency of Nigeria.
He said several people, including himself, had at one time or the other sustained various degrees of injuries in the course of trying to bring sanity to Apapa, which had been on traffic lockdown over the years.
He said: “It is not good to announce it but we have recorded fatalities.
“I am afraid saying it because it will always be on the headlines.
“I am also a victim of an accident in the course of discharging my duties and I was lucky to escape with a damaged vehicle.
“The first day we started the restoration of law and order, we lost a LASTMA officer by accident.
“A truck was reversing and the LASTMA lady was behind.
“Recently, we lost another LASTMA officer who was stoned to death.
“We also lost a police officer, who was crushed.
“We have several people that were hit, including myself.
“My vehicle was hit but thank God nobody died.
“The vehicle was almost a write-off.
“This type of development happens continuously.
“There were very terrible ones where people were losing limbs and losing their hands.”
On the number of people arrested in the course of the restoration, Opeifa said he had lost count, disclosing, however, that over 120 traffic violators were arrested on the first day of the operation.
He said the main focus of the team was not to pick trucks as there was nowhere to put them after arrests were made.
On the team’s plans for 2020, Opeifa said: “We are not supposed to be here by 2020.
“The Lagos State Government is supposed to take over traffic management.”
The one-time Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation frowned at attacks on traffic management operatives, especially LASTMA officers.
On the achievement of the task force, he noted that stakeholders had done the rating and concluded that the situation had never been that good in the axis.
He said: “Our job is to remove stationary trucks and we have removed them.
“I challenge any trucker, who claims he spends days on the road to come out and speak up.
“Our job is to get trailers off the roads and make the roads open.
“Occasionally, there are incidences which the Lagos State Government bears.”
According to Opeifa, the ports are handling more cargo than their capacity.
He said there must be an upgrade of port facilities, while the regulators must keenly monitor activities.
Commenting on the endless menace of articulated vehicles on Lagos roads, Opeifa said: “They are not road worthy, they break down easily.
“There is a need for more collaboration among stakeholders operating at Apapa Ports to restore law and order in the Apapa area permanently.”