Truck drivers have been given 48 hours to clear their vehicles off the Eko bridges.
The ultimatum and order were handed down by the military and the Lagos State Government on Wednesday after a stakeholder meeting, which comprised of the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) WNC, Rear Admiral Slyvanus Abbah; Permanent Secretary (PS), Lagos State Ministry of Transport, Dr. Taiwo Salau; Commander, 9 Brigade, Nigerian Army (NA), Brig.-Gen. Adiku Attu; Base Commander, Nigerian Air Force (NAF), and Air Commodore Mike Olatunji.
Held at the Apapa Headquarters of the Western Naval Command (WNC), it also had in attendance Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) manager, Aisha Ali-Ibrahim, representatives of Dangote Group, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), containerised truck drivers, Apapa Residents Association, the police and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA).
Addressing newsmen after the deliberation, Rear Admiral Abbah said parking trucks on the bridges constituted a security risk, adding that the bridges could collapse because of the static weight they had been forced to carry for over a decade.
He also lamented the man hour and resources the navy wasted whenever it moved personnel for ground operations from Navy Town, Ojo to Apapa Base.
Abbah said: “We cannot continue like this. This gridlock from Apapa to Mile Two and then from the stadium up to Eko Bridge does not do anyone good.
“We are going through trying times in the country and the mere presence of these tankers and trucks on our bridges constitute easy targets for terrorists. No one knows where and when terrorists strike from. Their actions cannot be predicted and that is the more reason why we cannot continue to have these vehicles parked on the bridges for two to three weeks. The navy deployed its helicopters on Monday to take aerial footages of the situation and I can tell you it is very worrisome. So many people have lost their lives as a result of this traffic. These bridges were constructed in the early the 1970s to carry moving weights not for static vehicles. The bridges have since carried more than the weight they were built for. Parking trucks on them could lead to collapse because they weaken the bridges.
“We have heard from NUPENG and I use this opportunity to appeal to the leaders here to call their men to order. We do not want to see tankers and trucks parked on the bridges anymore. They have requested for 48 hours to start phasing off their trucks from the bridges and we have obliged.”