By Godwin Oritse, LAGOS
Chairman of the Port Consultative Council of Nigeria, PCCN, Otunba Kunle Folarin, has said that the Council warned the Federal Government about the Apapa gridlock more than 18 years ago, but that the government’s refusal to heed the warning resulted in what is currently being experienced.
Folarin said this at the inauguration of the new committees of the Council in Lagos.
He noted that during the tenure of Mr. Adeseye Ogunlewe as Minister of Works, both officials of the Ministry and the Council took a walk from Ilasamaja to Tin-Can Island and fashioned out road outlets from Apapa, with a view to avoiding the current traffic situation.
The newly-inaugurated committees includes the Port and Security Committee, Port and Event Committee, Finance and General Purpose Committee and the Legal Committee.
He stated that despite their efforts, the then President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s government could not see the importance of diverting traffic from the ports.
He disclosed that a consultant was actually appointed to commence work on how to circumvent the traffic from the Apapa as a result of the projected growth in the volume of imports into the country.
He said: “We foresaw the Apapa traffic gridlock over 18 years ago, met with the then Minister of Works, Mr. Seye Ogunlewe, because the indications of an impending traffic situation were already there and we warned against it.
“We, in company of the then Minister, walked from Ilasamaja to Tin-Can to circumvent the envisaged traffic looking for ring roads from the Lagos ports.”
The PCCN Chair urged members of the stevedoring group not to relent in reminding the government of its failure to address the infrastructure and policy deficits that are currently rocking the Nigerian maritime industry.
He added that government must always be put on its toes for it to take appropriate actions for the good of its citizens.