The Lagos State Government has reconstituted the Joint Security Task Force established to tackle Apapa gridlock and other security threats within the axis brought about by the blockade of major roads in the area by tankers and containerized trucks.
The Apapa gridlock, in the past few weeks, had worsened due to the breakdown of operations at the ports located in the axis, said Habib Haruna, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor.
Rising from the monthly Security Council meeting held at the Lagos House in Ikeja chaired by the State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode and attended by heads of security formations in the State, the State Government said the Task Force comprising of police, military, officials of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) would immediately be deployed to the axis to ensure sanity and contain any potential security threat.
While briefing Government House Correspondents at the end of the meeting, the State’s Commissioner of Police, Mr Imohimi Edgal said while the issues that gave rise to the gridlock were being addressed, the Task Force would ensure that the roads in the axis were not totally locked down, and also prevent criminal elements from taking advantage of the gridlock to perpetrate their nefarious activities.
Edgal, who addressed the briefing alongside commanders of security formations in the State, said: “We deliberated extensively on the Apapa gridlock and the Governor has approved with immediate effect the reconstitution of a Joint Task Force made up of police, the military, LASTMA and FRSC officials to ensure that whilst the major problems that gave 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 ensure that we create a corridor for smaller vehicles and ensure that there is no complete blockade to free flow of traffic. We will also have plain cloth and uniformed security agencies ensuring that there is no crime in the axis due to the traffic gridlock.”
The CP, who assured residents that every necessary arrangement had been made to ensure peaceful yuletide season, said the Council also approved increased visibility and patrol in all parts of the State, especially in areas there are traffic gridlock as a result of construction activities.
Already, Edgal said due to increased patrol, about 35 notorious traffic robbers were recently arrested in Ilupeju and Oshodi axis, many of whom he said are ex-convicts and would soon be charged to court at the end of investigation.
He added that as a result of the community policing and community safety partnership strategy adopted by the Lagos Police Command, there had been about 35 per cent drop in issues of residential robberies, while more boats had been handed over to Marine Police by the State Government to secure the waterways and riverine areas especially to checkmate incursions by militants and secure schools in such areas, in addition to the Tactic Guards already formed.
Speaking on ongoing clampdown on commercial motorcycles popularly known as Okada on restricted routes, Edgal said security agencies in the State have been given marching orders to strictly enforce the traffic law, and that no lawlessly or breakdown of law and order would be condoned.
He particularly admonished motorists and transport unions to impress it on their members to obey traffic laws, just as he said Okada riders must not only refrain from restricted routes, but also use helmets both for rider and passenger and 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 form 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.
He said aside the security measures already put in place for residents and visitors to experience a peaceful yuletide season, any resident who sell, distribute or use industrial fireworks would be arrested and charged to court, saying that the ban on such is still very much in force.
Besides, Edgal thanked Lagosians for their cooperation with security agencies so far and urged people to continue to volunteer useful information that would help arrest potential security threat.