By Raji Rasak
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) on Monday appealed to the NNPC to provide alternative loading depots for petroleum tankers to check the recurring gridlock in Apapa area of Lagos State.
Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, the South-West Chairman of the union, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
Korodo said that the recurring gridlock in Apapa was because 90 per cent of petroleum products were stored in various private tank farms in the area.
“This is why all the adjourning routes to Apapa always experience traffic jams.
“The tanker drivers are always on queue waiting for their time to load the petroleum products stored in various farm tanks in Apapa.
“They occupy a lane out of the two-lane route until it is their turn to load.
“At present, Tin-Can Island-link road is not passable to the depots; the Ijora-Wharf Road is in deplorable conditions due to several pot-holes there.
“The tanker drivers have been on queue for days, obstructing free flow of traffic.
“It is dangerous to have trailers stationary on those bridges for days, it could weaken the bridges.
“The tanker drivers should not be held responsible for parking their trucks on the route leading to the depots.
“This is because there are no alternative routes to the depots for now,” the chairman said.
He said that if government fails to provide alternative routes to the depots; the gridlocks would become hectic on the existing route when repair work begins on the Apapa-Tin Can Road.
The union, therefore, appealed to the NNPC to open the depots in other parts of the South-West zone for loading to reduce the tankers coming to Apapa.
“The corporation should begin to use its System 2B Pipeline Network, to pump petroleum products from Atlas Cove Depot to other depots in the southwestern part of the country.
“Now that the depots are in good shape, there is no reason why the corporation should still be using private depots in Apapa to distribute petroleum products,” he said.
According to him, only Mosinmi Depot is into skeletal loading while Ejigbo depot in Lagos State; Ibadan depot in Oyo State, Ore depot in Ondo State and Ilorin depot in Kwara are not working.
Korodo pleaded with the Federal Government to intervene in the matter.