By Godfrey Bivbere
AMIDST the global outcry over the state of access roads to Nigeria’s premier ports at Apapa, Lagos, stakeholders in the shipping industry have painted a more grim picture of the state of other ports outside Lagos.
Delta port which used to have very smooth access road, has now begun to experience a similar nightmare as Lagos ports, according to the ports stakeholders.
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The stretch of road from Warri port in Delta State to Effurun roundabout, the major artery, according to the port users, is now so bad causing motorists to spend several hours on the road during the raining season.
Speaking about the condition of the port access roads in Lagos and Delta, the Chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners, Remi Ogungbemi, said the condition of the roads was worrisome, and called for urgent action to be taken.
He said: “The road from Warri through Sapele to Benin has collapsed. It is the bad state of the roads that is responsible for trucks and tankers turning over, leading to unnecessary loss of lives, goods and properties.
“Port Harcourt port is not left out, the road out of the port is now very bad while that of Onne port linking Port Harcourt has been very bad for over seven years now.”
President of the Shippers Association of Cross River State, SACRS, Micheal Ogodo, told Vanguard Maritime Report that the roads leading in and out of the Calabar port is bad adding that the road from Calabar to Uyo, in Akwa Ibom which usually takes about two hours now takes between five and six hours.
He stated: “I am an Isoko man; I want to go home in the first week of December. Am thinking of flying to Lagos and spending the night there because by the time I get a flight from Calabar by 6 pm, when I get to Lagos I must sleep one night and then fly to Warri before I now take transport to my village.
“Whereas with good roads, from Calabar to my village is about six hours. Six hours by road, yet I want to do it like two to three days. You know the road from Calabar to Uyo is a no go area.
“Our politicians are wicked; it is a no go area; You can put me on record; Not long ago two Cross-River citizens were chairmen of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, created to address such problems, while one was the Managing Director, yet that is the situation of the road in their state.
“The journey of 1hour 15 minutes to Uyo is now six hours to get there. I am telling you it is unbelievable that that is the main road through which traders move all the goods that is coming into Calabar market from Lagos; 90 per cent of traffic is on that road; We are almost cut off as a people, from other parts of the country. It is heart breaking. Under normal circumstances, the governor should not be sitting in the office; he should be standing on that road until something is done.
“The governor is not supposed to even sleep seeing his people suffering so much; he should be with Fashola, Minister of Works, every day asking him, what are you doing for my people, why are you cutting us off from Nigeria, are we not Nigerians again? That is the way I see leadership,” he concluded.