Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has admitted that his administration has not done enough to salvage Apapa from its current parlous condition and perennial gridlock.
This is even as the governor said his administration will build a new truck park that can serve as a holding bay for no fewer than 3,000 trucks at Ijora.
Speaking on Tuesday in Apapa at the second quarterly town hall meeting of his administration, Ambode said measures are already being considered to particularly tackle the road blockade, which remains a major concern to businesses and residents of the area.
Apapa hosts two of Nigerian major seaports in the country – Tin Can Island Port and Lagos Port Complex – and daily attracts thousands of heavy-duty trucks and petroleum tankers from different parts of the country.
The consequence over the last one decade has been a perpetual lockdown of roads and bridges leading in and out of Apapa, thereby forcing motorists to spend upward of four to five hours for journeys that should not take more than 30 minutes.
Acknowledging these challenges, Ambode said, “I have decided to come to Apapa to feel what the rest of Lagosians have been feeling. We need to talk about it because we will be deceiving ourselves if we don’t talk about it. We have not done enough.”
As part of the measures, therefore, to address the congestion menace and give respite to people and businesses within and around Apapa, Ambode said the state government was working on the construction of a truck park named the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (ABAT) Truck Terminal, Ijora, to reduce traffic gridlock in Apapa area.
Ambode said, “We believe it is a strong solution as that terminal, when completed, will be able to accommodate about 3,000 trucks at the same time.
“We will work with security agencies on how we can move the trucks off our roads to the terminal. For now, the terminal can take about 300 trucks but it is been under-utilised.
“We urge truck owners to utilise the terminal to reduce traffic gridlock on the roads in Apapa and Lagos central axis.”
Ambode also said the state government would soon open up the newly constructed roads from Trade Fair Complex to CMS for public use.
“Part of the solutions to traffic gridlock in this axis is the reason we want to open up for use the roads from Trade Fair Complex, Orile/Mile 2 up to CMS.
“Let us start to use the roads we have already fixed. We do not want to wait until we complete the road construction up to Seme,” he said
The governor also said that his administration was ready to employ public-private partnership approach to complete the construction of the roads from Okokomaiko to Seme.
He said the state government could not do it all alone.
The governor also said the state government could not take up the construction and rehabilitation of the Tin Can Island Port road saying it was a federal government road.
“It will not be easy taking up Tin Can road because it was not easy to get approval from the federal government for the construction of the international airport road.
“And we do not want to take too much projects in to our hands.
“We will support the federal government by offering palliative measures to ameliorate the pains and hardship being experienced by users of the road,” he said.
Ambode, however, promised to commence the urban renewal and regeneration of Ijora- Apapa area.
“Just as we are regenerating Airport – Oshodi axis, plans are ongoing to do the same in Ijora/Apapa area too,” he said.
The governor urged security agencies to ensure sanity in Apapa area by tacking the menace of ‘Okada’ riders.
He also urged local government chairmen to work with the traditional rulers in their areas to ensure security and sanitation.
Earlier, the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, advised the state government to set up a police post inside the ABAT truck terminal to ensure security there.
He also advised the government to utilise and work with the traditional rulers, community leaders and chiefs in the areas of revenue generation, sanitation and crime reduction.
According to him, the traditional rulers also have roles to play in ensuring crime reduction and cleaner state.
Some Apapa residents urged the state government to set up a fire station in the area for prompt response to emergencies.
They also urged the state government to work with the Federal Government to fix the Tin Can road to reduce traffic in the area.
They also lamented the menace of noise pollution caused by hotel owners in the area.