There was traffic bedlam in Apapa and environs Wednesday as the personnel of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) were withdrawn from the decongesting the hellish traffic that often besieges the area.
According to the navy, the withdrawal was based on the attack by the drivers on naval personnel who were deployed to maintain sanity on the roads and bridges leading in and out of Apapa.
The tanker/truck drivers had on Monday afternoon ganged up and attacked the naval personnel on duty, vandalising the patrol vehicle of the Operation MESA and injuring the navy men.
According to report, the grouse of the tanker drivers was that the navy in enforcing sanity on the road had restricted them from accessing the ports anyhow they like.
The navy had restricted the drivers on one lane all the way from Anthony bus stop to inner Apapa, a move that was not welcomed by the tanker drivers.
On Monday afternoon, the visibly fed up tanker/truck drivers congregated and stormed the Ijora Badia area where the Navy patrol team were situated and attacked them.
When the navy called for backup at the base, the Commander NNS Beecroft, Commodore Okon Eyo, urged them to stand down and not attack any of the miscreants.
He however, instructed them to withdraw back to the base with the vandalised patrol van.
When contacted, the Command Information Officer, WNC, Commander Chinwe Umar, said the decision was taken after the attack on their personnel.
The Navy person alleged that the joint task force was set up merely to fleece them of their hard earned money.
Speaking on anonymity, they alleged that what incited them was the partial treatment some drivers got over others, as they were often allowed to jump the queue ahead of those that parked earlier.
They also alleged that the security operatives had breached the initial agreement of passing the drivers with call cards, but were rather giving preferential treatment to some.
The withdrawal came exactly five months after the Flag Officer Commanding, Rear Admiral Sylvanus Abbah, at the command headquarters in Apapa, inaugurated the joint task force.
At the inauguration, the taskforce in conjunction with the Lagos State Government had issued a 48-hour ultimatum to tanker and truck drivers to fall in line or be banned from Lagos bridges and by-pass, which they have turned to their holding bays.
With the bid to find lasting solution to the irascible actions of tanker/truck drivers, who had hitherto ground Apapa and environs to a halt, foiled, the navy today said they were forced to withdraw given the attack on its personnel by the irate tanker drivers on Monday afternoon.
This recent attack on security personnel is not the first, as the tanker drivers had last year January gone on rampage at Creek Road, Apapa, over the death of one of their colleagues, setting two banks of fire.
The aggrieved tanker drivers had targeted the banks over the death of their colleague, who was allegedly shot by a mobile policeman attached to one of the new generation banks in that area.