BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG & IFEYIWA OBI
LAGOS—APPRENTLY fed up with the chaotic traffic gridlock on the ever busy Oshodi/Apapa Expressway, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to among others, evacuate all petrol tankers and other heavy duty vehicles along the access roads to the sea ports, or all ports operations nationwide will be shut.
The union in a petition to the Federal Government, through the Minister of Transport, also demanded relocation of all the tank farms along the access roads to the sea ports and rehabilitation of all the access roads to the sea ports within the next 14 days for industrial peace to reign in the ports.
In the petition dated July 9, 2014, MWUN through its Secretary General S. Aham Ubani, the union lamented that incessant gridlock on Oshodi/Apapa Expressway, had practically shut all economic and other activities on the Oshodi/Apapa axis besides inflicting untold hardship on residents and those whose businesses are located in the environs.
The petition read: “We observe with dismay that petrol tankers and trailers have permanently taken over the access roads to our Sea Ports; Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports in particular. The resultant gridlock caused by the indiscriminate parking of the petrol tankers and trailers that daily load petrol from the tank farms along the access roads to the Sea Ports have made movement of people and goods in and out of our Sea Ports and work places within the Apapa Industrial/Commercial area impossible. The deep pot holes along the roads which are better described as gullies have now turned death traps and is another contributory factor to the unprecedented gridlock that daily occur on the roads.
“The utter neglect of the access roads has not only compromised the efficiency and service delivery of the Ports due to the huge loss of man hours incurred daily on the roads, but has no doubt impacted negatively on the National Economy. We have repeatedly called on government to relocate the Tank Farms along the Tin Can and Apapa Ports access roads for both safety of lives, properties and economic reasons. However, in spite of the assurance given that the tank farms would be relocated; we are surprised that till date, nothing has been done.
“In consequence of the foregoing, we are hereby giving a fourteen (14) day ultimatum effective from the date of this letter within which: All the pot-holes along the port access roads be fixed; all the tank farms built along the Port access roads be relocated to another place where it would not inhibit free flow of traffic and all the petrol tankers and trailers be removed from the Port access roads.
NPA expresses worry over Mile2-Apapa gridlock
Meanwhile, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA has expressed its readiness to work with relevant government agencies to find a lasting solution to the unending chaotic traffic gridlock along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.
NPA Managing Director, Malam Habib Abdullahi, who decried the traffic gridlock on the access road to Apapa said, if the situation was left unchecked, it could have an adverse effect on the activities of both the Lagos Port complex (LPC) and Tin Can Island Port (TCIP), among other business activities.
He called for an urgent collaborative effort by all the major stakeholders in the nation’s maritime sector to address the challenge and said the authority had initiated plans for all stakeholders meeting to discuss the way forward.
According to him: “The authority is committed to cooperate and work with relevant government agencies to find a lasting solution to the perennial traffic gridlock into Apapa.”
While commending efforts of the Federal Ministry of Works in awarding contract for re-construction of the Apapa-Oshodi Express Way and Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola in trying to find a solution to the problem, he appealed to the construction companies “to expedite action on the reconstruction,” adding that “the NPA has also embarked on remedial work of fixing the common user roads around the ports with the aim of alleviating the problem.”