…as Fashola, Dangote, Tinubu flags off reconstruction
By Gabriel Olawale & Yinka Ajayi
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, Saturday sympathized with residence of Lagos over Apapa- Oshodi- Oworonshoki and its environment for the havoc the gridlock has caused them.
Speaking during the flag-off of Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki-Ojota Expressway in Lagos, Ambode said; “We are not happy that we are making life so difficult for the people living and doing business around Apapa area.
But we believe strongly that the reconstruction of the road in the area is the right step we should take that will ultimately lead to relieving people the burden that this gridlock has always caused.
He pointed out that the real solution remains interconnectivity of rail, road and water which the Federal Government is committed to.
“If there is anybody that is personally and collectively relieved, it is actually me because when you look at the last few years, everything happening around Apapa is a very historic moment for us in Lagos State, we are excited that this project has finally commenced officially.
Don’t extort truck drivers, Fashola warn law enforcement agencies
Corroborating his view, Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola pointed out that the Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki-Ojota Expressway which was build about 40 years ago has not witness any major reconstruction activities despite several years of oil boom.
He disclosed that the Nigeria Port at Apapa can no longer cope with the business activities around the area which definitely necessitate the speedy construction of new ports.
“Apapa Port was built for about 30 million metric tonnes per annum, but now managing cargo of over 80 million tonnes per annum which calls for the construction of new port.
“But while work is ongoing on Lekki Port, Badagry Port we have to recover this Apapa road by reconstruct it through Oworonshoki – Ojota Expressway so that traffic that has gone inside the city can bring relief.
He commended Dangote Group for his commitment to President Muhammadu Buhari mandate on ease of doing business, “The construction suppose to take two years but AG Dangote promise us that in a period less than that the project will be completed.
“Some people ask me why it is Dangote? And I told them that Dangote is one of the few Nigerians that believe in this country and invest his money here while some people prefer to starch it outside the country.
He encouraged truck drivers to maintain one lane so that other road users can move freely, “The joint task force should ensure law and order and desist from extorting truck drivers.”
On his part, President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote said that the Apapa –Ojota Expressway project which will be the largest concrete road in West Africa will be delivered ahead of two years completion target.
“With the completion of this road, am positive that the revenue of not just only the Nigeria Port but all other people around Port and Nigeria as a whole will multiplied.
This will open up economy and boost ease of doing business and improve our ranking in annual global competitiveness.
Dangote explained that the road project was in form of Public Private Partnership that will accelerate reconstruction of Federal roads by allowing private operators to collectively fund road project in exchange for tax credit.
“We are putting our money upfront and advancing our tax to government up to four to six years. This noble idea will lead to economic growth and development through significant infrastructure improvement.
“We look forward to more of this infrastructure with government because as we speak, last year our own tax on three major area was 97.6 billion and this year it will be over 150 billion and next year it will be over 200 billion.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Works, Dr Kabiru Gaya, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for ongoing road construction across the country, “President Buhari si gradually turning the whole country to construction site. Project abandoned in the last 18 to 20 years are now been rehabilitated. In 2014 the government in power then the budget for work was just N28 billion for works, but Buhari in 2016 increase it to N200 billion and later to N400 billion and now we are moving to N500 billion in 2019.