- Residents express anger, frustration
Apapa, a cash cow of both the Federal and Lagos State Government, is being bled and left to rot, along with the investments of its residents and business owners. The structural integrity of the link bridges is threatened and most of the connecting roads are eroding from stagnant storm water and from heavy duty vehicular movement. Apapa needs urgent intervention, writes Bennett Oghifo
Deep gullies have surfaced on most of the roads leading into Apapa from the Ijora axis, impeding human and vehicular movement.
The holes are deep enough to conceal small-size vehicles like the Kia Picanto or MG or Mini and the military can successfully conduct maneuvers in the tranches on the roads.
People who live and do business in Apapa wonder why the federal and Lagos state government have decided to neglect the network of roads, which are the main arterial for the evacuation of goods worth billions of Naira from the Ports.
The bad stretches are from the foot of the bridge descending to Apapa from Ijora up to Eliganza, with the most horrible sport at Airways Roundabout in front of Flour Mills Company. Several pot holes dot Point Road, which used to be an alternative route through Liverpool Roundabout to Olorogun Michael Ibru Boulevard (former Creek Road). Part of this road was resurfaced recently but may deteriorate if the movement of trucks and trailers on the road is not controlled.
Besides, trailers/trucks and tankers laden with goods and petroleum products add dead weight on the bridges that are not designed to carry such load.
According to the Chairman, Apapa GRA Residents Association, Brigadier-General Sola Ayo-vaughan (Rtd), “Apapa Port is the busiest in West Africa. The revenue from the Port ranks second, after revenue from NNPC. The bridges and roads leading to the Port carry highest tonnage of load daily. Unfortunately, the bridges and the roads are uncared for. The roads leading to the Port have virtually collapsed and have become almost impassable.
“A month ago, Julius Berger was drafted to shore-up the bridge end that became unmotorable. This was to give a semblance of road repair. It was totally negligible and ineffective. This only shows that the federal ministry of works does not understand the problem and magnitude of the chaos which will emanate from the collapse of the road. Tin can Island axis is yet to be opened. “The collapse of the roads leading to Apapa will only worsen the economic situation of the Nation. I’m not sure people in Abuja can see beyond the confines of their posh offices or they are pretending all is well. A stitch in time saves nine.”
A motorist on the road yesterday, who identified himself as Abimbola, expressed disbelief that Apapa roads can be so terrible. “This is a disgrace to both the Federal and Lagos State Government and their senseless slogan of change.”
Last month, when the federal government carried out emergency repair of the hole on the bed of the Ijora Bridge, THISDAY suggested that the government should cease the opportunity to rehabilitate some critical sections of the road, including the Flour Mills stretch, but the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola said the focus then was on the bridge repair.
He also said that there was a pact with the Dangote Group to reconstruct the stretch from the Ijora Bridge at Leventis to Wharf Road and the Port, using concrete but that there were some paper-work that needed to be done to enable them begin work.