By Jonah Nwokpoku
LAGOS — Residents of Liverpool community in Oriade Local Government Area of Lagos State and tank farm owners in the area are at loggerheads over the blockage of the only access road in the community by tankers lifting petroleum products from storage facilities.
The residents said the heavy duty trucks used for lifting petroleum products from the tank farms have destroyed the only access road in the community, making life difficult for them.
The Liverpool community, an area comprising eight estates, has at least seven tank farms recently developed in it.
The tank farm operators include: EMADEB Energy Services Limited, A. A RANO, and First Deep Water Limited while other companies like WOSAB, MENG, MAO and FIRST ROYAL also have theirs currently under construction within the area.
“These heavy trucks have destroyed the road completely. No vehicle can ply the road again. Our children can’t go to school and the sick can’t get to the hospital,” lamented Kenneth Onwumere, who is the Chairman of Liverpool Community Development Association, LCDA.
He explained that before the tank farms were built in the area, the community had no problems with the roads. But as soon as some property were sold for the development of the tank farms, the road began to depreciate because of the heavy duty trucks that started to ply it.
“Given that the road was never built for such vehicles, it quickly deteriorated and now the only access road for the community has been destroyed completely.”
He added that efforts to get the authorities to address the situation had yielded no result as the state government said constructing the road was not on its agenda at the moment while the local council said it was not its business to rehabilitate the road because it belonged to the state government.
When Vanguard visited the area, the deplorable road was being rehabilitated by one of the tank farm operators, EMADEB, but there was no alternative route provided, causing the residents to trek for hours to get to the expressway.
Decrying that there was no alternative road while the road was being fixed, another resident of the community and former chairman of LCDA, Governor Ibimitini said: “What they should have done wass to survey the area first and look for alternative routes where they could divert vehicular traffic but they didn’t do that.
“Now, the only access route for the entire community is Shalom Estate where the road is also terrible. I pray the state government will intervene immediately to arrest this situation.”
We are doing all we could to rehabilitate the road —EMADEB
But reacting to the allegation that the depot owners destroyed the road and abandoned it, EMADEB Energy’s Community Relations Officer, Olubunmi Johnson, said the company had been doing all it could to rehabilitate the road as it has taken the responsibility to single handedly finance its rehabilitation despite the presence of other depots in the area.
He said: “There are about seven companies operating here but only EMADEB is undertaking the road rehabilitation. These other companies also have products in their depots but they have refused to contribute anything to the work.
“Of 30 trucks that passed this road, only six belong to EMADEB and the other 24 belong to the other depots. So we are doing what we could.”
EMADEB’s Project Manager, Alex Adeyemi, an engineer, added that the company gave the community a two-week period to complete the rehabilitation work. He said one week had passed and promised that before the end of another week, the road would have been completed.
When Vanguard contacted other depot owners on why they have refused to be part of efforts to rehabilitate the road, Depot Manager of A. A. RANO, Lukman Ismaila, said the company had always been part of efforts to rehabilitate road in the area but that in this instance “we had an agreement that while EMADEB could rehabilitate the road as a temporary measure, we will come together to facilitate a construction that will be more durable.”
Govt has to com e in
He however noted that, “government also has to come in to coordinate the depot owners to contribute to any project in that area because none of the operators has the right to compel another to contribute towards any project that will eventually benefit all.”
Also speaking, the lawyer representing the depot owners, Essiet Prince said it was not as if the depot owners do not want to contribute to the road project but that they were simply slow to respond.