Gridlock: Hope dimming on Apapa as FG keeps mute
Hope that the Federal Government would take some immediate action to bring the much desired relief to port users, residents and the dying businesses in Apapa, a bustling ports neighbourhood in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial town, is fizzling out.
Seven months into the President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government, the expected intervention in Apapa is yet to come. Stakeholders in Apapa are of the view that the failure of the Federal Government under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to pay attention to the ports community from where it makes over N1 trillion annually was a key factor in swinging victory to the then opposition party- All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 general elections in Lagos.
Babatunde Fashola, then governor of Lagos State and current Minister of Works, Housing and Power in the campaign preceding the elections sought the support of Lagos for Muhammadu Buhari, then presidential candidate of the APC, promising the party would fix Apapa if elected.
However, stakeholders are alarmed by the silence maintained by the Federal Government in the face of huge economic losses and daily threats to lives and property arising from the gridlock and the activities of tanker and dry cargo trucks drivers in and around Lagos.
As the danger in Apapa and its environs grows, with frequent tanker accidents, traumatised citizens are left to their fate, as Lagos State government appears is unable to tame the truckers and tank farm owners who operate without organised loading bays and parking lots.
Dayo Mobereola, Lagos State Commissioner for Transport in an interview monitored on Channels Television on Monday, said the mechanism for fuel transportation remains under the control of the Federal Government who owns the ports, grants licenses for tank farm operations, and owns roads and bridges leading in and out of Apapa.
The commissioner’s remarks come as the state governor; Akinwunmi Ambode has repeatedly appealed to the Federal Government to mobilise contractors back to site to complete an abandoned trailer park project awarded by the Federal Ministry of Works to Borini Prono, an Italian construction, opposite the Tincan Port. The park has the capacity for about 1,000 trucks.
“What we want to do is appeal to the Federal Government and most especially Mr. President that the contractor working on this particular bridge should come back to site and once we are able to open the trailer park, we would be able to allow other trailers and tankers to use the park,” said Governor Ambode in one of visits to Apapa.
Remi Ogungbemi, chairman of Association Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) said urgent intervention was needed to restore some sanity in Apapa, as the gridlock thickens amidst failed roads and degraded environment which make the area one of the worst areas in the world to do business.
Hyginus Omeje, safety officer and sector commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Lagos command, said there is need for the government to consider other places for the discharge of imported fuel, to relieve Lagos of the present burden, which he believes comes with a great cost to the residents and businesses within Apapa in particular and the state in general
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