Residents of Apapa suburb in the Apapa Local Government of Lagos State, came out penultimate Tuesday in large numbers to protest the deplorable state of the Apapa-Oshodi expressway and the indiscriminate parking of trailers and trucks that has affected their economy and social life.
The protest march kicked off from the Apapa Local Government Council headquarters through the Creek Road to the Apapa Quay and back to Apapa Roundabout. The protest terminated at the Liverpool Bridge.
SHIPS & PORTS DAILY learnt that the residents embarked upon the protest because they were fed up with the perennial traffic jam along the express way.
The protesters who sang solidarity songs carried placards, some of which read: “Save Apapa road,” “Feed the hen that lays the golden eggs, “Apapa deserves better roads”, “Remove the death traps on Apapa roads”.
Staff of some companies operating in the area trooped out in solidarity with the protesters.
At the Sapele junction near the Apapa Quay, a crater which was water-logged as a result of the rain which fell three days before the protest, reduced the space and the enthusiasm of the protesters, yet they remained undeterred.
SHIPS & PORTS DAILY observed that a section of the road had been turned into makeshift toilets for tanker drivers and their conductors who remain on the queue for endless hours, with no place provided for them to answer the call of nature. Even those who decide to trek as a result of the traffic gridlock and who have an urgent call of nature, patronise the makeshift toilets. The stench emanating from the human waste is nauseating that passersby and residents of the neighbourhood resort to covering their nostrils.
A trailer driver who simply identified himself as Musa, said that bad spots on the road have affected their productivity. Pointing to a deep crater, he noted that a truck can easily get stuck there.
“The bad road has affected our productivity in the sense that it delays delivery of empty containers to the quay,” he said.
The deep craters from the Roundabout to Liverpool on the express way were filled with stones on the orders of the Chairman of Apapa Local Government Area, Mr. Ayodeji Joseph. A Supervisor in the Council’s Works and Housing Department, Mr. Wahaab Olatunji who disclosed this said; ” In a bid to ameliorate the situation, the chairman gave us moral and financial assistance to work on the bad portion of the Creek Road. We have been carrying out palliative repairs on both state and federal roads in Apapa for three years now”.
The Chairman of the Community Development Committee, CDC, Mr. Bolaji Laja, an engineer, attributed the traffic gridlock in the area to the presence of tank farms and the parlous state of the express way. According to him, the gridlock has adversely impacted on the economy of people living in Apapa.
“This traffic is very terrible; it has made a lot of companies to relocate from Apapa. Economically, it has affected us, people hardly come to Apapa again. Why should they build tank farms in a residential area like Apapa?” he queried.
He said that the social life of the people has also been adversely affected.
“Business men are relocating their drinking joints, bars and even clubs due to low patronage,” he said even as he charged the Federal government to fix the roads in Apapa.
“They should spend the revenue they are generating from the ports on Apapa roads,” he said.
The protest climaxed at Liverpool Roundabout when vehicles and pedestrians stopped to read the messages boldly written on the placards. Some of them joined the protesters.
Addressing the protesters, the Chairman of Apapa Local Government, Mr. Ayodeji Joseph, said, “The state of roads in Apapa is terrible. It is shameful that the Federal government abandoned Apapa inspite of the billions of naira they generate from the three ports monthly “.
“All these roads are Federal roads. As you can see, the local government is doing some palliative works to ease the suffering of our people. I saw the protest coming. In a situation where you abandon your responsibility, the people will complain. Another problem we are facing is the tank farms. Everywhere on Creek Road is tank farm.
“A lot of people have left Apapa because of this. We really need to work with the police and probably the Navy, if that is the only way to get a temporary solution,” he said