The president of NARTO Kassim Babaya has asked tanker drivers and owners to move their tankers out of Lagos until there fuel available for them in the depots. According to him, they are law abiding citizens and since the Lagos state government has asked them to leave until there is fuel supply, they will do just that. There are fears that the actions of the tanker drivers may worsen the already difficult fuel supply situation.
The Lagos state government had earlier ordered the tanker drivers to move their tankers parked within 300 metres of fuel depots to a different location. The government was responding to the chaotic way tankers are parked on major roads particularly along the Apapa- Marine beach way and the Apapa- Oshodi expressway. This has created long traffics and hardship to road users.
According to the state commissioner for transportation. Kayode Opeifa, ‘No tanker should be seen on the Eko Bridge down to Liverpool or before Coconut on the Oshodi – Apapa expressway. By Thursday, the tanker drivers and owners must make one lane available for members to ply, pending the expiration of the ultimatum when enforcement would begin.
He added that the enforcement would be done by the various Unions in the area with the support of the state government, the police and the Federal Road Safety Corps. Any tanker that does not comply will be fined and will not be released until the fines are paid.
It remains to be seen if the movement of the tanker drivers out of Lagos will be done in good conscience by the tanker drivers and owners. Interestingly, the orders by the Lagos state government has been followed as the roads have largely been cleared of the tankers and the traffic situation has improved in these areas. The threat of scarcity still looms because marketers say they have not been assured of payments as they owe banks that are now unwilling to extend new credits.
‘It is disingenuous to accuse everyone who calls for restructuring as trying to break up the county. History tells us that that kind of cheap blackmail will not work as long as the underlying reasons for the agitations persist.’
‘The biggest challenge seems to be that we seem to be allowing moderate voices on this issue to be drowned out by the reckless utterances of a few rabble rousers on all sides who may be tools in the hands of those who do not wish this country well. These are some of the people who arrogate to themselves the toga of spokespersons of our diverse groups.’
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