Worried by the loss of productive man hours and adverse effects on port operation, Ships & Ports Communication Company has sent individual letters to the nation’s 468 Federal Lawmakers asking them to take legislative action to end the perennial Apapa gridlock.
Chief Executive Officer of Ships & Ports, Mr. Bolaji Akinola said the move became necessary in order to save the ports from further hemorrhage.
Akinola said his firm sent individual letters to all the 360 elected Members of the House of Representatives and 108 elected Senators (with the exception of one of them who is deceased) “in order to bring the plight of Apapa residents and port operators to their knowledge”.
He said letters were also sent to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki on the matter.
“The economy of this great country is hemorrhaging not just because of the declining value of the naira and the crash in the international prices of crude oil but also due to the persistent traffic congestion that has practically brought Nigeria’s major port community of Apapa to its knees.
“Not less than 80% of Nigeria’s trade by volume (and 70% by value) is carried by sea. 75% of Nigeria’s seaborne trade is conducted through Apapa and to allow this important community to be crippled by the menacing gridlock will mean creating more harm to the nation’s economy.
“We sent the individual letters to all the lawmakers to ensure that they have full knowledge of the situation and to galvanise them to action,” Akinola said.
He identified poor and dilapidated road infrastructures, lack of parking lots for trucks and the proliferation of tank farms in Apapa as “factors that have combined to create the gridlock, causing trucks to be on the road for upwards of seven days to load or drop their cargo”.
The Ships & Ports CEO said the solution to the gridlock can be achieved through the lawmakers’ urgent intervention
“We have advised them on what the solutions are. These include the repair, reconstruction and expansion of the Ijora/Wharf Road and the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway; creation of satellite park(s) for trucks that can hold a minimum of 10,000 trucks per time; and the discontinuation of petroleum products delivery by road, among other measures.
“Our letters are urging the lawmakers to use their good offices to bring the Apapa gridlock and proposed solutions to the floor of the Senate and champion the passing of a bill known as the Apapa Regeneration Bill to provide special intervention fund to address the gridlock for the benefit of the Nigerian economy,” Akinola added.