Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, on Tuesday said vehicular congestion on the Oshodi Apapa expressway has driven away businesses and discouraging new investors from coming into the area.
Fashola made this disclosure while hosting members of the Senate Committee on Privatization led by its Chairman, Senator Gbenga Obadara when they paid him a courtesy visit in his office.
Fashola urged the Federal Government to take concrete steps to address the traffic gridlock because residents and offices located around the road are also looking for alternative homes and workplace outside the area.
“Businesses that wanted to open up there have shut down because of the gridlock. Sometimes, Chief Executives of companies call me from their offices to say they are trapped in their offices, they can’t go home. So we have to send LASTMA there at night to go and make a way for them to go home,” the Governor said.
Noting that the country seems to take one step forward and then reverse some of her own gains, the Governor asked, “If there is unemployment and the economy is not doing well, did we concession Apapa ports in order to destroy our economy or in order to improve it?”
“Many businesses have closed down because they cannot get to their businesses. Now the tankers have moved into residential buildings. The result is that people are moving out of Apapa and property values are being degraded,” he said.
The Governor warned that joking with the seaports is tantamount to joking with the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people who work there.
“The inefficiencies of importing and exporting goods is (sic) killing our economy. Why should I want to put my goods in a port that takes weeks to turn around if I can do the same business in a port that takes hours. So when we complain of unemployment and all that, the real causes are starring us in the face. It will be easier to produce goods elsewhere and enter this market with finished goods,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Privatization, Senator Gbenga Obadara, said the Committee was in Lagos as part of its oversight functions to supervise some privatized government assets adding that they wanted to see the gridlock in Apapa as a first step to finding lasting solution.