26 June 2012

Nigeria: Agony, Hardship Return to Lagos Seaport Road

As the rainy season reaches its climax, the Tin Can Island Port-end of the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, main access road to Nigeria's major seaports, has returned to its usual nightmarish state, causing more pains and distress for motorists and commuters with thousands of man hours lost in the process.

From Coconut Bus Stop down to the Liverpool Bridge, Apapa, a distance of about 1.5 kilometres, the road, along its failed portion, was flooded slowing down traffic, which formed into serious traffic gridlock as early as 8am yesterday.

Our correspondent, who monitored traffic on this road, gathered that maintenance on it was done shabbily around the Tin Can Island Port, Second Gate three weeks ago, and has now been washed off and flooded.

Barely two months ago, the federal and Lagos State governments directed truck drivers, who were blamed for years of traffic gridlock on the road to leave and placed men of the Police Task Force on the road to enforce the directive. The expected result came with great amazement to stakeholders and users of the road, as the road became cleared giving way to smooth traffic.

But now the old order has returned, this time courtesy of poor maintenance by the Federal Ministry of works, helped by a queue of trailers which has taken a lane off the road in a bid to access the Tin Can Island Port Gate 2.

When contacted on telephone by our correspondent, the Federal Controller of Works, Ejike Mgbemena, said he was away from Lagos and could not comment on the federal government's plan for the road, which leads to the nation's major seaports.

"Despite the importance of this road, the federal government does not see any need to do serious repair of the road. It took the intervention of a State government to stop trailer and tanker drivers from parking on this road. There are over 20 task forces in the maritime industry, including special presidential task forces, but they hardly get any job done. The federal government should know that this is a big shame on its image," said an angry motorist who refused to give his name.

Apapa, Lagos is host to five major ports, including Apapa Wharf, Tincan Island Port, Kirikiri and Lilypond ports with 12 terminals, which receive over 80 per cent of the country's imports. Apapa is also host to over 50 petroleum tank farms which receive refined products from overseas, store and dispense the products through tankers to other parts of the country.

Road transport is the only means to haul oil and other cargoes around the country for now.

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