Apapa gridlock: Ambode begs FG to revive outer ports

'Ambode: FG must revive outer ports to save Lagos'
Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode (middle); Deputy Governor, Dr. (Mrs) Oluranti Adebule (left) and State Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC) Lagos, Tunde Balogun (right) during the 3rd Quarter 2018 Town Hall meeting at the Community Primary School, Iberekodo, Ibeju-Lekki, on Wednesday.

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has tasked the Federal Government to do everything within its powers to revive existing ports in other states of the federation as a way out of the perennial traffic congestion in Apapa. 

Ambode also said that reconstruction of the dilapidated Apapa-Oshodi Expressway will commence in two weeks.

The Governor, who spoke at the Third Quarter Town Hall Meeting, the 12th in the Series, held at the Community Primary School, Iberekodo in Ibeju Lekki Local Government, said the recent chaos witnessed in the Apapa area was beyond traffic issues, saying that concerted efforts must be made to revamp moribund ports.

According to him, beyond getting other ports up and running, the issue of tankers queuing up to lift petroleum products from tank farms in Apapa was also a major issue causing gridlock and damaging road infrastructure in the area, which according to him was inimical to the economic growth of not just the state, but also of Nigeria in general.

“It would be very unfair to Lagosians if I don’t talk about issues relating to traffic management and integrated transport management most especially what we have witnessed in the last one week in Apapa, but again I would like to tell Lagosians that every stakeholder that is ‎relevant to resolving the Apapa crisis, we have gone to work and you can see that there is a major improvement.

“But again, this issue has become perennial and in the last six years, it’s always been there, it comes and goes, but the challenge is to be able to find a permanent solution and in that reason Mr. President had directed the Vice President to come and see what the situation is and to actually give us a permanent solution. We are grateful Mr. President, we believe strongly that every layer of government should collaborate to be able to resolve this Apapa crisis.

“But we all must know that Apapa crisis is more than traffic issues. That is where all states depend on for revenue through Customs because the revenue is shared at FAAC. If anything goes wrong in the port, whatever they get from Federal Allocation Account Committee (FAAC) could reduce,” Ambode said.

Stressing that the Apapa gridlock was a national issue that required urgent attention, the Governor also noted that oil pipelines should be revived to discourage the trend of thousands of trucks coming from other parts of the country to lift petroleum products from Apapa.

“It is bad that we still use truck to lift petroleum products from Apapa to other parts of the country. As it is now, other ports in Nigeria must begin to work immediately to decongest gridlock in Lagos.‎ Whatever has led to continual use of trucks to lift fuel, which is, vandalism of pipeline should be addressed immediately.

“We believe that this will allow the roads to become free. We don’t need to continuously use taxpayers’ money to build roads that were destroyed by tankers. We call on the Minister of Petroleum and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to work towards reviving the pipelines,” he said.

The governor also expressed concern about the approval for the development of tank farms in Ijegun area of Lagos, saying that as much as the state supports redistribution of tank farms, such should be located in areas that are not populated.

“We don’t need tank farms within Lagos metropolis anymore. There are 68 tank farms in Apapa alone. That is a serious danger waiting to happen. Beyond Apapa, they have approved tank farms in Ijegun axis and that is where we have huge population.

“We need to redistribute tank farm establishment to outer borders and other parts. This is what we believe should be done at this moment to free Lagos roads,” he said.

Speaking on the efforts of his administration to develop the economy of the state, Ambode said his administration has continued to keep faith with its mandate to ensure that the future of Lagos remains on a sound pedestal.

He said the Town Hall meeting, which had moved round the three senatorial districts in the state from its first edition held on October 6, 2015 has continued to provide the government with first hand information on the needs of the people and how best to solve them.