By Bennett Oghifo
The on-going reconstruction of the Wharf road in Apapa, Lagos will be completed on or before the scheduled June date, the Chairman/President of AG Dangote, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has said.
AG Dangote, a construction company is reconstructing the 2-kilometer stretch of the road with the use of concrete, and it has been contracted to reconstruct the Tin Can to Mile 2 to Oshodi Ring Road, using the same material.
Aliko Dangote, who inspected the level of reconstruction work being done on Wharf Road, this week said, â€œThere is great hope in Apapa with the reconstruction; AG Dangote is actually doing an excellent job, you know this road project is being funded by Dangote, Flour Mills and NPA. The quality of the road is very impressive and amazing; I thought we were doing just a normal road, even in Germany, you cannot find this road would last at least two generations. It is so solid that it can take any weight and traffic and they are doing a great job. If you look at the quality of work they are doing, it is not only the job but also the quality, so that we donâ€™t actually leave here then after two or three years contractors will now have to come back.
â€œI can assure you that once we leave this job, none of us here alive will actually see the end (the lifespan) of this road. That is how solid the road is going to be.â€
Dangote said there were quite a few challenges in the past because of the gas pipelines and electrical cables that were laid (on the right of way), but that the ministryâ€™s engineers relocated them and that with this out of the way â€œthis has actually given us time and we are now going to double our efforts to make sure that we work day and night so that this road will be delivered latest by end of June; by the end of June, the traffic here will be gone.â€
Dangote then appealed to the government to â€œremove all these taskforces all over the place and leave just the Police, LASTMA, and Federal Road Safety. These are the only three that we need and we are really going to write formally to the government to help us remove all these other taskforces.
â€œThis is a wrong place for the federal unit of Customs to set up a road block/check point. The issue is that some people donâ€™t even understand how much money we are losing. If you quantify it in billions, it is 20 times the cost of this road every single day.â€
He said there was need to decongest the area and to move the heavy duty vehicles off the bridges, stating that it was dangerous for trucks to be static on the bridge. â€œThis is supposed to be passing weight and not static weight. So, I think we have to actually check the stability and credibility and strength of the bridges, because they have overloaded them and Iâ€™m a bit worried about them.â€
On the reconstruction of the Mile 2 stretch, he said his company would apply the same quality in executing that job, and that in another year, the work the government had done in making the roads better would become very obvious.
He said the government had also promised that the trailer park by the Tin Can Port would be ready about the same time the palliative work being done by AG Dangote were over.
He, however, said the solution to the gridlock on the road was beyond the palliatives and that actual reconstruction would greatly improve the road.
Dangote restated that the project was purely corporate social responsibility, explaining that he intervened to prevent the road from deteriorating further. â€œWe try to do our best to contribute to development. If Dangote and Flour Mills had not taken the initiative, this road would have been like this for more years to come and everybody is losing money.
â€œEven if some of us can actually afford to lose money, the smaller businesses will not be able to pull through all these. If you have one container and it is stuck in the port for days, youâ€™ve been charged demurrage, you pay high fees, at the end of the day when you sell you goods, youâ€™ll not be able to pay your loan. That is why I feel we need to do this, government cannot do everything, we need to also do our own bit.
He explained that their intervention was not public private partnership, but CSR, adding that PPP was the way to go, as is done all over the world, so that government can concentrate on other areas of development like health, education, defense, among others. â€œIt is difficult for any government to fund infrastructure and at the same time fund the daily needs of the people.
â€œThe current government has embracedÂ PPP and are coming out with a very good model, like that of the road and Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ll see a very big difference in one or two years.â€