By Kingsley Adegboye
Business tycoon and President, Dangote Group of Companies, Aliko Dangote, has assured that the ongoing Apapa-Wharf Road reconstruction project would be completed on schedule in June this year, adding that he was impressed that the work was progressing faster than he anticipated.
The business mogul who made this disclosure during his visit to the project site recently to see extent of work done, said, “Now, my impression has changed, AG Dangote is actually doing an excellent job.” He lauded the quality of work being done just as he commended the project financiers such as Dangote Group, Flour Mills of Nigeria and the Nigerian Ports Authority.
Dangote explained that utilities in the right of way of the project had initially slowed down work but that engineers had evolved a design that solved the problem.
The business mogul said that people were not aware of the revenue loss caused by the gridlock caused by the deplorable condition of the road before now, explaining that the cost of the gridlock to the economy was 20 times the cost of the road project which is about N4.3 billion.
“NPA is giving about N1.8 billion; the rest of the money, which is N2.6 billion is going to be given free of charge both by Flour Mills of Nigeria and Dangote. But I must also caution that the cost of the road is not N4.3 billion because we got our own construction company to do it,” he said.
The Group Managing Director of Flour Mills, Mr Paul Gbededo, told newsmen that the gridlock had posed severe difficulties for both big businesses and small ones in Apapa.
He said that the economy of Apapa was generating over N20 billion a day and that the gridlock was causing huge revenue losses.
The Managing Director of AG Dangote Construction Company Ltd., Mr Ahif Juma, said he had deployed 140 men to site, to ensure that the project was completed on schedule.
“Some of the men would work on night shift, seven days a week and we would work 24 hours.
“Now we have about 39 to 40 per cent completed and by end of June, July, we should be able to finish the work,” he said.
Calling on the Federal Government to withdraw agencies causing the perennial gridlock in Apapa, he cited the presence of the Nigerian Customs and the Nigerian Navy on the road, saying Customs men especially, were causing untold hardship to road users in their bid to collect revenue at check points.
Dangote lamented that check points mounted by the Customs, Navy and other agencies were causing the gridlock, making life particularly unbearable for motorists. He said the presence of Customs men on revenue drive on the road was taking on businesses and killing the economy of Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub.
“We are going to formally write to the government to withdraw all these task forces, especially the Federal Unit of the Customs.