The steady decline in property values in Apapa, particularly in the commercial buy-to-let market, is beginning to set investors on hedge. While the residential market still looks good, very few non-maritime related businesses remain in Apapa presently. But the concerned residents of this once pristine enclave, principally those in the GRA, have resolved to dig in and weather the storm until they find succor from the government, writes Bennett Oghifo
Apapa is divided into a commercial section and a residential neighbourhood, and the serene Government Residential Area (GRA) is the prime property market.
Apapa residential market has promise; in fact, there has been a measure of stability in the face of the turmoil goods laden trucks and tankers cause in this part of Lagos which used to have guaranteed night-time economy. Until recently, people work and play in Apapa 24/7, all year round, but all that paled when the trucks moved in.
Just when it was beginning to look like these trucks and tankers were thinning out from the roads and link bridges of Apapa, there emerged a resurgence that startled the residents, whose inner streets have also been taken over by these menacing machines.
Some discerning investors in property are optimistic that the future is bright for the residential property market in Apapa, and have set up processes to deliver high-rise luxury residential towers.
One of such is a foremost real estate development company, CMB Building Maintenance & Investment Company Limited that recently turned the sod to begin the development of a high-rise residential housing estate in Apapa GRA.
Managing Director of CMB, Mr. Kelechukwu Mbagwu, said after the sod-turning ceremony that Apapa’s residential market has huge promise.
Regardless, the distraught residents of Apapa Government Reserved Area (AGRA), have called on all levels of government to quickly come to the aid of the ports city to prevent it from total collapse.
They spoke through the General Manager of AGRA, Mr. Paul Odey. The Association lamented that 13 months into the government of All Peoples Congress (APC) in Federal, State and Local governments, the residents of Apapa are still left in the lurch to continue to suffer the menace of bad roads, unending traffic jam and the lawlessness of truck drivers.
Odey noted that the people who still reside in Apapa commute by boat to their destinations, condemning what he described as indifference on the part of various governments to the plights of the residence.
He noted that Apapa’s economy has virtually collapsed because of the activities of the truck drivers parking on the roads. He noted that it is not just Apapa’s economy that was prostrate, but that the entire nation’s economy was bleeding.
Ode said the truck drivers have frustrated every effort to relocate them from the roads. He cited an instance where a company; FT Global Logistics Services Ltd came up with a proposal to take the trucks off the road.
Odey pointed out that “Apapa has not experienced any change at all. The access roads are getting worse because you can only accessed Apapa through Apapa and Coconut bridges. The current Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola is familiar with our plight because he frequented Apapa while he was the governor of Lagos, though he could only come on Sundays because of the traffic situation.”
He added that “If one part of the body is bad, it would affect the other parts of the body. The access roads are in a terrible state, therefore the other infrastructure are collapsing. Why in the world would public money be spent to fixed roads only for individuals to damage them? Are we running a country where you cannot even designate where trucks would park?”
He lamented that policemen and other security agents that ought to be doing more legitimate duties are directing traffic. The AGRA boss noted that the Truck Park opposite Tin Can Island that has been under construction since the days of the late President Umaru Yar’ Adua was still at phase one because of a dubious new bridge being constructed just beside the Liverpool bridge that connects Apapa with Tin Can Island.
Odey also said there were no street lights on the bridges that lead to Apapa, inspite of the fact that less important roads had.
In a telephone conversation with the Managing Director of TF Global Logistics Limited, Chief Chris Orode, he explained that his firm came up with three-pronged approach to curb traffic jam in the ports city. He said the first approach was to create an alternative parking lot, introduce an electronic authorization that would ensure that only trucks are on the roads at any given time.