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Apapa gridlock, beyond LASG —MOT

Says construction of trailer park still on course
By Olasunkanmi Akoni and Monsuru Olowopejo

IN December last year residents of Apapa gave the government a 21-day ultimatum and threatened that if nothing was done about the prevailing traffic gridlock caused by the invasion of the area by trucks, they shall sue the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, and all shipping companies. The ultimatum had since lapsed but without any response from those concerned.

Traffic Gridlock at Mile 2 Bus Stop Along Oshodi Apapa Expressway Lagos.Photo By Akeem Salau.

A resident, Mrs. Yemi Ibuoye, charged the Federal Government to open up other ports in the country to save Lagos bridges from collapsing and protect the state from epidemic arising from human wastes left on the streets by truck drivers. “We will name and shame all the owners of these companies who do not live in Apapa but are responsible for the destruction of Apapa,” the association warned.

LASG reacts: Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Ladi Lawason, while commenting on the Apapa gridlock, said: “It is not a Lagos problem but a Nigeria problem. Lagos alone cannot solve the traffic in Apapa because it emanates from the port. We don’t have jurisdiction over the infrastructure around the port. All we can do is reach-out to agencies and work in collaboration to resolve it; which we have done.

“What is ongoing are discussions and attempts by the Lagos State Government to find land where in collaboration with Nigeria Port Authority, NPA, we can now certify those trailer parks so that they can interface with the port to end the traffic that we see out there are. Again, the point has to be made that, providing parks was not originally meant to be the responsibility of the state government because 30 years ago, we didn’t see all these and the reason was that all these activities happened within the port.

“These are not happening anymore. And all functioning ports have rail mode of evacuating their goods out of the ports. The FG has not built that and that is currently affecting residents of Lagos. This is not a Lagos State Government created problem. But as a responsible and responsive government we have decided to get involve and work towards providing solutions on the issue.”

On 1000-capacity Bola Ahmed Tinubu, BAT, Trailer Park, in Orile, the contractor handling construction, Planet Project, seemed to have abandoned the job as it has withdrawn workers and major equipment from the site. The project tagged as solution to the gridlock that had crippled commercial activities in Apapa and Tin Can ports was expected to have been completed last year December.

ALSO READ: Group recommends new formula to end ports gridlock, container deposit war

Recall that Ambode flagged off project on August 5, 2018, assuring motorists that work would be completed within eight weeks to end indiscriminate parking of trucks on highways. When Vanguard visited the site, it was gathered that the contractor has re-deployed its staff and removed major equipment from site due to lack of fund to execute the job. It was also learned that construction work didn’t start on the project until about four weeks after the governor flagged off the project.

Despite starting the project behind schedule, Vanguard gathered that the contractor spent several weeks excavating the top soil from the site and did not deploy the needed heavy equipment to site early. It was also gathered that the persistent rainfall late last year was a major hindrance to pace of work on the terminal.

Also debunking the claim, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, stated that the assumption that contractor handling the project has withdrawn equipments and re-deployed staff from site was untrue. He said: “That is not true. Work has never stopped on the project. The contractor has never abandoned the project for once.”

Also, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Taiwo Salaam, added “They (contractor) are presently working on testing the soil. And once the result of the test is out, the work will be doubled up.”

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