Dangote, NPA, Flour Mills Sign MoU with FG to Reconstruct Apapa Road at N4.3bn

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  • Business operators, residents to persevere as project completion takes 1 year

Abimbola Akosile and Bennett Oghifo

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has signed a N4.34 billion Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dangote Group, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Flour Mills of Nigeria for the reconstruction of the decrepit Wharf Road, Apapa, Lagos.

The road was consequently handed over to the three stakeholders for commencement of the reconstruction works after the agreement was signed in Lagos saturday.

The road project, which is to be handled by AG Dangote, the construction arm of the Dangote Group, is billed to last one year as business operators and residents in the area are expected to persevere throughout the duration of the reconstruction.
The 2km road begins from the Nigerian Port Authority to the end of the Apapa bridge.

THISDAY gathered that Dangote had long agreed to singlehandedly undertake the reconstruction of the bad road at the cost of N1.5 billion earlier presented to him, albeit with different construction dimensions.

But when a team put together by Fashola reviewed the details of the project, it discovered that the N1.5 billion project cost proposed could not stand the test of time, given the dimensions indicated in the details of the project. Fears were entertained that it would in no time give way too.

However, when the reviewed cost was brought to Dangote, it was higher than what he initially agreed to and declined to accept the new bill, suspecting foul play. It was at this point Fashola was said to have intervened and explained the details between the old and the new project costs as well as engaged other stakeholders to show interest as part of the corporate social responsibilities.

What happened yesterday, THISDAY gathered, was a product of several meetings and exchange of memos amongst the concerned parties. An initial date was chosen for sometime in May but could not hold, because the partners had not agreed to the details before yesterday’s date was eventually agreed to by all.

Fashola, while speaking at signing ceremony, explained that the gridlock in Apapa became compounded and had reached an unbearable level as transporters ignored the old system of moving cargo through rail to trucks and containers.

According to him, the choice of the transporters to use road instead of rail for haulage increased the gridlock and caused degeneration as well as hardship to residents of Apapa. He therefore commended the “leadership role” of the stakeholders to solve the complex problems in Apapa and its environs.

Fashola agreed that the deplorable state of the road in Apapa had caused stress to residents, business owners and other stakeholders in the state, adding: “As a result of all these unsavory practices, we have reached a point of near total gridlock. It is difficult to move cargo in or out; difficult for residents to get home and this must stop,” he said.

The minister explained that it took time to reach an agreement on the project, because the stakeholders were putting up an effective design that would address the drainage problem since the area was waterlogged.

“We have finished with the design, we now have a Bill of Quantity and the cost of the road is N4.34 billion to be funded and paid for by these three groups, Flour Mills of Nigeria, AG Dangote Construction Company Ltd and NPA,” he said.

The minister, who is the immediate past Lagos State governor, said although the parties were funding the project, the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing would supervise it through all the stages to ensure quality and compliance with standards.

He therefore sought the cooperation of all residents of Lagos and directed the Apapa Area Commander of the Nigerian Police Force, DSP My Nuru, to apprehend reckless drivers, who drive against traffic during the period of construction and appealed to him to tackle all bureaucracies that would affect free flow of traffic while apprehending offenders.

Fashola sued for synergy among the law enforcement and traffic regulatory agencies for improved traffic management in order to reduce stress on road users during the one-year duration of the project.

“We are embarking on what will be the final solution to the massive inconvenience. Businesses and residents in Apapa and its environment have had to endure for a couple of years.

“I like to acknowledge the leadership role of Dangote and Flour Mills, who are operators and have also contributed to make this a reality. They are doing this as a total Corporate Responsibility without asking for tax holiday or reduction. We are also working on how to ensure free access to Tin Can Island.

“From today that we are handing over the project, the road will take one year to be completed. We need the cooperation of all the stakeholders. There will be some discomfort on the way but we appeal for tolerance and perseverance. It will continue to get better, people should please endure more to solve the challenge.”

Fashola, who was also stuck in the Apapa gridlock for a while, assured the people that reconstruction of the Oshodi-Mile 2-Tin Can road would also begin soon.

Managing Director of NPA, Ms. Hadiza Usman, while responding to issues of lack of holding bays raised by transport unions, said government would support the private sector to drive the initiative to set up new ones.

“We have received proposals on electronic management of holding bays. We are working through processes and we would soon conclude on that,” she said, noting that tank farms that do not have holding bays for their trucks would soon be sanctioned.
Usman explained that her agency was working on providing weigh bridges within the ports as well as enforce the implementation in a few months to take care of problem of high axle load on the roads.

On his part, Joseph Makonjuola, an engineer with the Dangote Group of Companies assured that the company would contribute its funding as part of its corporate Social responsibility and would still meet its tax obligations to government.
“This is part of our CSR. Businesses have to engage the community, where they operate. Today’s CSR has gone to a higher level, where we find ourselves embarking on a major infrastructural project,” he added.

Managing Director, Flour Mills of Nigeria, Mr. Paul Gbededo, said Wharf Road was the “most important road in the entire country’’ which needed more attention, adding that “This kind of road cannot be handled with levity.”

“Apapa has become a very difficult place to work. With this project that the federal government has allowed to embark on, it will give succour to business. It has the biggest port in Nigeria and should not be taken with levity,” he said.
Also present at the ceremony were the representatives of truck owners, transport unions, maritime operators and business owners in Apapa.

Although Apapa had remained despicable for many years without any visible help from government, the experience of the last two weeks had literally seized the commercial hub as vehicles could no longer move in and out of the place freely.

While the state of the roads in Apapa is pathetic, attitudinal disposition of tanker drivers as well as absence of parking lot had also combined to compound an already bad situation with Apapa now dreaded by all, including business and home owners.

With a time-frame of one year for the completion of the project, residents and business operators in this ever busy part of Lagos would have to endure more pains of traffic gridlock the moment construction works commence.

  • Drake Solo

    I thought Fash said it was going to cost N100B, after making so much noise as governor about so called FG’s negligence, he can only coerce firms operating in Ports area to do it, tell me another name for failure.

  • Tito Kane.#Proud to be a NEGER

    #This fashola is confused and very boring.
    I assume that he is a member of the british masonic lodge,heavily compromised and is gay

  • austin

    From 1.5 billion to 4.34 billion? What kind of variation to ensure standards is that, considering it is a 2 km road? Perhaps they need to put a rail line on it.
    The boys are hungry, corruption is fighting back.

    • yinka

      Have you manage a project in your life? if not, please shut the hell up. Design Request(DR} can increase construction estimate significantly. Beside, It is a private funded project which has undergo Value Engineering Review.

      • austin

        Yes, I do that as my everyday activity.
        Your second sentence could have read “if not, please note that there are other considerations”. You could have still made your points without recourse to unpleasantness. Why do we believe that we have to speak without decorum once we are faceless.
        Back to the subject matter, after scoping and costing a project, what allowance would you make for variations and changes, which must definitely happen. 30%? 50% if the scope definition is not top notch. However, here you are looking at a 200% change order. There is certainly something amiss. Can you confidently present this kind of change to your project sponsor after getting the initial sponsor approval?
        Let’s look at this project superficially as we do not have the BOD, Specifications, and drawing details. It is still a 2 km road, it has not changed in length; it can never change in length. Has it changed it width? Considering it is in a densely populated area that is highly unlikely. So what exactly has changed? Addition of drains, thicker asphalt perhaps? And for that a 200% increase? Or perhaps they have decided to pile the entire road length and effectively build a 2km bridge. But that would give a cost certainly higher than this, so where are we?
        This is a government project and likely not to have any form of design or the value engineering review mentioned by your honorable self. Most government projects costing or inhouse estimates are done using rule-of-thumb methodology because, not surprisingly, there are no designs.
        On the corruption bit, which I feel incensed you (correct me if I am right), I make bold to say that corruption is fuelled by lack of information. If there is a government website where the detailed information about this project is domiciled, we project management professionals would not be discussing about what can make a project go so wack out of commercial planning. As we reside and have resided in Nigeria for as long as we have, we do know that even if this is privately funded there is still an avenue or even highway for corruption. Note that NPA is part of the “private” sponsorship.
        Think about it this way. Dangote would bring his 1.5b, the other coy would contribute the variation of 0.5b and NPA can write off its books 2.34b for the boys. Still speculating. Lol.
        The pen is certainly mightier than the AK47.

        • yinka

          I apologize for been brash with my response to your posting. I have my years of experience in design, managing and construction in highway and bridge business. I have seen and done many projects. The key to a good and clean project is proper planning. Cost can escalate rapidly if the owner did not do a good homework which happens even in USA where l practice since 1985.

          • austin

            Apologies graciously accepted. Maximum respects.
            I quite agree with you that proper planning is key to project success. However, in recent times there has been a dominance in stakeholder managemnt. You would also have noticed that PMI is of the same view as the literature has started emphasizing stakeholder management. In this case of the Apapa Road project, stakeholder management was clearly not properly executed which brought about the inexplicable escalation in project cost. This would be the academic verdict on this case if I view the situation as Ceteris Paribus (all things being equal) i.e. without factoring in the Naija angle of settling the boys.
            Thank you.

  • loveNigeria

    ONE Year to finish a 2km Road is BAAAAAAD!!!!!!!.
    No matter how busy the road could be, do a proper planning and it should not be more than 3 Months, working through the phases, planning, road traffic management and working mainly (construction) in the NIGHT.
    God bless Nigeria.

  • Anne Mumuney

    We wait with bated breath and a great deal of cynicysm to see if this is actualized. Last time the apapa bridge was “worked on” by some of these contractors, some sort of sludge was poured on it that resulted in a large hole being eaten through the bridge, apart from all its other problems. It took the intervention of the Minister of Works to patch the hole. We hope that proper supervision of the works will be done to ensure the right standards and specification of materials are used. And we also remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch. The job of the government here is to ensure strict monitoring of the works to ensure that the corporations are performing their contractual obligations to the letter.

    • Spoken word

      is it mumuney or mumu. You can take your cynicism elsewhere

  • kinsly

    Finally tha saviour cometh!