SOS Pls, approve Ijora Truck Terminal, AMATO begs Gov Fashola

Pls, approve Ijora Truck Terminal, AMATO begs Gov Fashola
• FG recommends project to LASG as ‘noble’

In the wake of last Saturday’s demolition of a number of structures at Ijora, Lagos by the State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation, road haulage operators, under the aegis of the Association of Maritime Truck of Owners (AMATO), have renewed calls, passionately appealing to Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola to approve their plans to construct a dedicated modern truck terminal at Ilu Eri, Ijora.
When contacted by phone, AMATO National Chairman, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY that the proposed truck terminal would do so much to ease the near-perennial gridlock on the Lagos ports access roads.
“The project is in tandem with the Mega City Project of the Lagos State Government. We are, therefore, appealing to His Excellency, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola,SAN, to grant us the approval soonest, so that AMATO could play its rightful role in actualising the Lagos Mega City Project,” Ogungbemi said.
The AMATO boss went on: “The proposed truck terminal will be an ultra-modern complex and, of course, very environmentally-friendly, because it will surely key into the Lagos State Government’s beautification efforts.”

Ogungbemi explained that AMATO had done all within its powers towards actualising the modern dedicated truck terminal project, and was only anxiously awaiting the state government’s approval to make this a reality.
Apart from the work of private surveyors on the project site, which AMATO commissioned, SHIPS & PORTS DAILY was informed the association also expended an additional N3 million as fee for a survey executed by the Lagos State Government on the site.
Ogungbemi said: “Governor Fashola should, please, save our souls and grant the approval for AMATO to construct the terminal, which will surely resolve the problem of traffic congestion on the Lagos ports access roads. It is not enough for officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to persistently hound and impound trucks waiting on the roads to enter into the ports. Many truckers have been rendered bankrupt, owing to the incessant seizure of their trucks and imposition of outrageous fines by LASTMA. Many truckers have become serious hospital cases, quite a number of them sent to their early graves, because of the antics of LASTMA. The humane and right choice is for the Lagos State Government to grant AMATO approval for the truck terminal, which will serve as a marshalling yard, keeping the trucks from using the roads as their parking lots.”
Checks by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY revealed that the proposed AMATO truck terminal has been endorsed by the Federal Government, which recommended it to the Lagos State Government as “noble”, seeking the “cooperation and support” of the Lagos State Government in “facilitating the realisation.”
The Federal Government’s endorsement had come via a letter by then Minister of Transport, Alhaji Ibrahim Isa Bio, dated July 24, 2009, and addressed to the Lagos State chief executive.

The two-page document stated inter alia: “I wish to acknowledge the concerted efforts of your administration at solving the perennial traffic congestion problems in Lagos State. I must also not fail to commend your policy of solving the entire transportation problems through provision and development of inter-modal infrastructural facilities.
“While commending you for all your efforts in the transport sector, I wish to extend my hand of fellowship in forging an improved relationship in the provision of efficient transport facilities for enhanced social and economic development in Nigeria and particularly in Lagos State. As part of my Ministry’s contribution to infrastructural development in the sector, I was in Lagos on Monday, 20thJuly, 2009 to inspect the port roads with a view to getting it rehabilitated for improved vehicular movements in and out of the ports.
“Your Excellency may wish to know that as part of my efforts to sensitise the stakeholder in the Transport Sector, I gave audience to Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO). During the interactive session, they requested me to lend my support to an application they had made to your government seeking approval to site and construct a Modern Track Terminal at Ilu-Eri, Ijora, Lagos State. The application, I was informed is being evaluated by your Ministry of Transportation, Land and Physical Development.
“In view of the laudable nature of the proposed project, I, therefore, wish to seek your cooperation and support in facilitating the realisation of this noble project which will help in no small measure in alleviating the problem of traffic congestion in Lagos Area.”

Similarly, the then Transport Minister had written the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) a letter, which was dated July 24, 2009, and, with reference number HMT/Admin/005/1/3.
The one-page correspondence, which bore the title: FACILITATION OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF A DEDICATED MODERN TRUCK TERMINAL AT ILU-ERI-IJORA-LAGOS STATE was signed on behalf of the Minister by Alhaji A. Indaba.
The document stated inter alia: “I am directed to inform you that the Association of Maritime Truck Owners has proposed the construction of a Modern Truck Terminal at Ilu-Eri-Ijora in Lagos State and is already processing the acquisition of the proposed site from the Lagos State Government.
“Considering the significance of the possible on easing the traffic congestion at Apapa and Tin-Can Island ports roads, you are requested to give your maximum cooperation in actualising the project.”
Fashola, it was gathered, had responded to Bio’s appeal on behalf of AMATO in a letter dated August 28, 2009, and titled: RE: APPEAL FOR SUPPORT ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF A DEDICATED MODERN TRUCK TERMINAL AT ILU-ERI-IJORA.
Fashola’s letter, which came a clear one month and some days after Bio’s, was signed by the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Olanrewaju M. Babalola.
It read in part: “I am directed by His Excellency, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, the Governor of Lagos State to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated July 24, 2009 in respect of the above subject.
“His Excellency has directed me to inform you that issues raised in your letter are currently receiving attention at the relevant government agency.
“We shall communicate you of development.”

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