Respite is underway for residents, businesses, motorists and commuters in and around Apapa as Dangote Group has elected to do palliative measures on the Liverpool Road and the stretch of road from Tin Can Island second gate to Coconut bus stop which have completely collapsed.
The palliative measure is preceding the total reconstruction of the whole Liverpool Road and the entire length of Apapa-Oshodi Expressway from Tincan Gate to Toll Gate which Dangote is to undertake as part of its public responsibility.
These revelations came out from a stakeholders meeting held in Surulere, Lagos Thursday. The meeting which was chaired by Babatunde Fashola, minister for power, works and housing, had in attendance representatives of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), association of maritime truck owners, NUPENG, flower Mills Nigeria, Dangote Group, freight forwarders, etc.
Apapa, Nigeria’s premier port city, has become a metaphor for suffering, stress and business losses because of the traffic gridlock that has placed the city under siege and parallised all economic activities in around the city.
Joseph Makoju, honorary advisor to Aliko Dangote, president, Dangote Group, noted that the gridlock is affecting the Nigerian economy as a whole, disclosing that they, as a company, cannot import raw materials for their operations, nor can they export their products.
He assured that the palliatives would be prompt while the reconstruction of the expressway would commence as soon as both the design and the procurement processes were completed. The design, he promised, would be submitted to the government by Tuesday next week.
AG Dangote, the contractor handling the reconstruction of the 2-kilometre Wharf Road being undertaken by Danote group, Flower Mill Nigeria and NPA, also assured that the work would be completed on schedule.
The concrete work on the road would start in December and by January they would be through with the first section of the road. “There will be no rescheduling of the work; we expect that by June-July next year, we should have completed that work”, Makohu assured.
The ‘invasion’ of trucks on the city by trucks from all over the country was a major concern at the meeting. But while NUPENG informed that they had discovered a private parking facility that could take a minimum of 1,000 trucks of the road, NPA also disclosed that they had given all the port operators a marching order to get loading bays for their containers.
“We were to have our third meeting with operators today if not for this meeting; we have all the operators that for any of them to continue to do business at the ports, they must make their holding bays available for the port users”, Iheanacho Ebubeogu, a General Manager at NPA, disclosed.
The minister assured that the federal government would do all it can to ensure that residents and businesses in Apapa were not strangulated by the activities of at the truck owners. He directed NUPENG to work with the federal controller of works in Lagos, Godwin Eke, to explore the possibility of getting the private parking facility in Orile for their use.
He affirmed that the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway has been given to Dangote in principles for reconstruction, saying the cost of the work would be determined after the design and procurement which were still on-going.
He noted that activities have improved at the ports making it imperatives for importers to consider available options such as Calabar, Onne and Warri ports which have to be improved to play the new role. “All goods bound to the South East shouldn’t be coming to Lagos, nor those going to the South South part of the country. All these should consider using the Eastern ports”, he advised.