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Apapa As Agony

APAPA now stands for agony. Forget it is home to Nigeria’s major ports and the nation’s premier gateways by sea.

More than 60 per cent of goods imported by sea make their ways into the Nigerian market through these ports.

The Oshodi – Apapa Expressway, with links to the international airport, and the border towns of Seme and Idiroko is of the Trans-African highway, and its 10 lanes take goods and petroleum products to the Nigerian hinterland through the Lagos-Ibadan-Benin Expressway – all of which are in a state!

Under normal circumstances, the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, easily the busiest in Nigeria, should enjoy priority attention of the Federal Government because of its place in our economy.

It is a sad irony that the Federal Government uses this and other roads that are crucial to the economic development of the country to demonstrate its unwillingness to perform its duties to Nigerians.

At all times, users of this road suffer one agony or the other. The road for ages has been a victim of indiscriminate parking of trailers, tankers and trucks, flooding of its portions during the rains and unimaginable gullies. Tankers and trucks that converge at Apapa from all parts of the country to pick up goods and petroleum products use this road.

Many of the drivers are totally lawless. While they wait for their turns to pick up goods they park their trucks as they wish. This immediately creates traffic bottlenecks.

The Lagos State Government, which is stiff in its insistence on the maintenance of law and order, is often at loggerheads with the unions of these tanker drivers, who rather than obey the law go on strike to arm-twist the government.

With the rains, the twin problems of collapsed sections of the road around the Tin Can Island ports and flooding of some parts of the highway when it rains, Nigerians are forced to endure hours of untold hardship whether going to or getting out of Apapa.

Owners of heavy industries that flank the highway have not helped matters. They abuse the areas around their premises, compromising the drainage.

It is high time the Federal Ministry of Works and the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency put the Apapa Expressway in proper condition for our economic well being and the health of its users. Nigerians have suffered enough on this and other federal roads around the country.

It has been over a year since the infrastructure concessioning agency was set up. The establishment of this agency seemed a verification of the notion that the Federal Government was no longer in a position to maintain its own roads. What is holding up this agency from commencing work on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway?

The Minister of Works and Housing, Dr. Hassan Lawal, should realise that the rehabilitation of this Expressway is too critical to our economy to be ignored any further. There should also be a maintenance schedule for our roads to save them from falling into regular disrepair.


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