Reconstruction of Apapa-Oshodi expressway begins in 2 wks — OSINBAJO
By Evelyn Usman & Monsur Olowoopejo
LAGOS—THE Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, assured that the anticipated reconstruction of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway will commence within the next two weeks as part of the Federal Government’s resolve to finding a lasting solution to the chaos in the Apapa axis.
This came as Governor Akinwunmi Ambode ordered the immediate shutting down of Climax Bonded Terminal in Ajegunle, saying that its operation was not only illegal but also causing untold hardship to residents in the area.
Osinbajo said this at a dialogue with stakeholders on the Apapa traffic congestion in company of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State; Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Managing Director of Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman, among others, held at the Officers Mess of the Western Naval Command in Apapa, Lagos.
He said the Federal Government is already looking into the issue of infrastructure renewal, especially with the state of roads in Apapa, adding that approvals for the reconstruction of Oshodi-Apapa Expressway and other major roads linking the Apapa and Tin Can Ports and tank farms would be concluded within the next two weeks.
The Vice President, who also led others to inspect the Apapa axis, said: “We have been working quite hard now to get approval for road construction. Among the roads are the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway and Mile 2 – Liverpool roundabout are important roads but they have been delayed but I am personally working to ensure that we could get that through and we are trying to look at immediate solutions and how the process could be expedited to achieve results.
“I can guarantee that we will get all the approvals done. I don’t think that it should take us more than two weeks to get the approval so that we can begin the work. There are so many other bad areas, especially the coconut area in front of Tin Can Island Port, the Leventis to Wharf Road is also another area we are looking at, the rehabilitation of the Creek Road so that we can have a two-lane access into the ports and all of those are important roads and all of them are Federal roads, so we have a responsibility to ensure that these things are done.”
On the situation with Ports across the country and the need to decongest the Apapa and Tin Can Ports, the Vice President said: “A few weeks ago, the Federal Executive Council approved a maritime security arrangement for all of those areas and that has already been deployed. So we expect that as soon as the security architecture is laid out, we should be able to use those Ports frequently and that would, of course, decongest the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports.”
“As Mr. President had directed, what I intend to do, is that we should meet as frequently as possible. We have already drawn up some roadmap and a checklist of the various things that we need to do in the next couple of weeks to ensure that we are able to ease the situation around here and make it more decent for people to live in this community and work in this axis. It is important for us as a country and commercially also and we are definitely committed to making sure that it works,” Osinbajo said.
Ambode shuts down illegal terminal in Ajegunle
Also speaking shortly after an on-the-spot assessment in the Agejunle area, Governor Ambode directed the closure of an illegal terminal in Ajegunle.
He said: “You are causing a lot of havoc. As far as the Lagos State Government is concerned, Ajegunle remains a residential area. I have cross-checked from all the ministries and officials, there is no approval from the Physical Planning for you to use this neighbourhood, which is residential, as a bonded terminal and then, I understand that you are extending to Awodiora.
“I have a duty to protect all the citizens of Lagos State; I will not allow anything you have called Bonded Terminal to reside in a residential area.”
On the presence of trucks parked on the single lane road in the Ajegunle axis, he said: “It is bad enough that the roads here are single lanes; I’ve gone round the whole of Ajegunle axis and I’ve seen all the trucks all over the place. So, I have taken over the bonded terminals in Ajegunle from this moment, this place has been shut down, and all the agencies concerned should take to my instruction. It should not be opened again and this includes all other places that have terminals or have been procured for such purposes. I would not authorize any place that is residential as a Bonded Terminal.”
On his part, the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, stated that the solution to the lingering gridlock was beyond road repairs.
We’ll keep sanctioning shipping companies — NPA boss
In her remarks, the Managing Director of the NPA lamented what she described as a disregard to laid down rules, particularly in the area of non-compliance to having holding bays by shipping companies.
She said: “Shipping companies are not above the law in Nigeria and they must act in accordance with the law.
“We have sanctioned three shipping companies, which are among the largest operating in Nigeria. We withdrew their licenses for 10 days.
“Upon the review of their 10 days suspension, it was extended to additional five days. Presently, they do not have vantage services within Nigeria. They do not have holding bays.
“Again, we have noted the concerns about empty containers. What we need to do is ensure that the same volume of containers that come into the country go out.
“Shipping companies have over the years, made Nigeria a dumping ground. They have also instituted a fee whereby, every importer is rushing into the port to drop their containers or risk losing their money.
“Shipping companies are refusing the operationalisation of holding bays. Ordinarily, when you import goods, the empty containers should be returned to the holding bays of the shipping companies. It is their responsibility to move it from the bays to the port.
“The shipping companies are not above the law. We will keep sanctioning them until they comply and operationalise their business.”