Compiled by Oluwatoyin Amao
It is a wrong decision because the road is the gateway to the nation’s economy and it cannot be closed down for people to use other routes. Where would the vessels in the port be moved to? There should be diversion to enable movement of cargoes in and out of port;the loss is immeasurable given the image of the country, the wear and tear of the vehicles and the destruction of people’s goods and services due to the gridlock on Apapa road. The turnaround time for trucks has been badly affected because the quantity that comes into the port determines the quantity you are able to deliver. The clearing time of cargo has been affected by this action.
Total closure of the road will cripple the economy. The poor state of the roads requires urgent reconstruction and there is need for government to create alternative routes for traffic diversion instead of total shut down. It is my hope that theycreate alternative route; we need the roads to be rebuilt because of its poor conditions. The kind of road they want to build is welcome; it is good for the economy and we can’t dictate to them how long the reconstruction should last. However, we feel that the shorter the duration, the better for all stakeholders. Instead of total closure, government should consider diverting ship or cargo to other ports throughout the duration of the construction. One side of the road should be closed for work and it is done, it should be opened and work started on the other lane of the road. The ports account for about 70 per cent of the total revenue generation from import duties in the country. The government should create alternate routes so that there won’t be complete shutdown of businesses to and from the ports. It is not right if the road is closed because it will automatically close down the port.
The closure of the road would bring untold hardship to commuters, business owners, residents and other users. It would also cause irredeemable damage to the port operations and the nation’s economy.It is a pity that people responsible for the maintenance of this road have left it undone for a long period especially as a lot of money is being generated from this section of the state. The repair of the road is a welcome development but diversion should be put into consideration because total closure cannot be done; the country will lose a lot more than it has already lost. Other routes should be made available for the movement of cargos into and outside the port.
I know the closure of the Apapa-Wharf road is to fix its dilapidated condition which should have been done long time ago but the negligence of the government has resulted in the loss of much revenue from the port. Closing the road totally will cause a lot of problems except if the situation can be managed through diversion of cargoes to other routes such as rail and the waterways. I feel the government should have discussions with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and the Lagos State Waterways Agency (LASWA) on palliative measuresto provide alternative mode of evacuating cargo in and out of Apapa before the closure. For instance, I am sure NRC will look for a way to be able to take some cargoes out of the Apapa area by rail so that we have fewer trucks on the road, both petroleum products and containers can be evacuated by rail and also our waterways can be used to for ease of movement to the port.
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