As the search for a solution to the intractable traffic gridlock in Apapa continues, stakeholders on Tuesday agreed to set up two committees on enforcement/operations and finance to tackle the challenge headlong.
This comes as the authorities of Apapa Local Government Area confirmed that over 80 companies have either folded up or relocated away from Apapa over the last couple years due to the challenge posed by the gridlock and collapsed infrastructure.
Among the stakeholders who met yesterday were the Nigeria Police Force, Navy, Army, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), banks, Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMARTO), residents and Community Development Association (CDA) in Apapa.
The enforcement and operation committees will involve security agencies and their role is to ensure that any articulated vehicle not cleared to enter Apapa is impounded and the driver penalised.
The finance committee on the other hand is charged with the responsibility of raising the sum of N130 million to drive the enforcement process.
Apapa for over a decade has been left in sordid state with collapsed infrastructure especially roads, and further compounded by horde of petroleum tankers and dry cargo trucks entering and exiting the port community on daily basis. The consequence over the years has been debilitating traffic jams leading to the loss of man-hours on roads within and around Apapa.
The effect on the nation’s economy is also monumental as several shipments of goods are delayed and attracting demurrage at the ports due to congestion.
The Federal Government two months ago extricated itself from direct responsibility of fixing the collapsed infrastructure in Apapa especially the Ijora-Wharf road, but signed an agreement with the Dangote Group, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to fix the road. The three organisations are staking N4.3 billion on the road stretching from Area B Police command to Apapa port gate.
Owolabi Adele, chairman of Apapa Local Government Area, at the meeting of the stakeholders yesterday, disclosed that over eighty companies have folded up while others have left Apapa due to problems associated with the traffic situation in the area.
He explained that the development had affected immensely revenue accrue to the local government since the years the traffic gridlock began to rare it’s ugly head.
According to the council chairman, many residents have also abandoned their homes and relocated due to the problem.
Owolabi Adele who commended the ongoing Road rehabilitation within the area stressed the need for strict enforcement of the agreement reached at the stakeholders meeting in the overall interest of all.
The council boss said he looked forward to a period soon when Apapa will return to her old status of socio-economic activities and contribute positively to the well being of the council.
Ayodeji Joseph, a member of the House of Representatives and former chairman of Apapa, described the situation as worrisome and commended his successor for according priority to the problem.
He however stressed the need for companies operating in the area to provide a servicing holding bay before given permission to operate.
Ayo Vaughan, a retired army general and resident of Government Reserved Area (GRA), Apapa, called for adequate sanctions for drivers who violate the one lane policy put in place as part of immediate solution to the problem.